Calcium is an essential nutrient for the body. Not only does it contribute to basic functions like moving of muscles, releasing of hormones, and circulation of blood but also keeps our teeth and heart healthy, send signals to the brain, etc.
According to the US NIH, the daily required intake of calcium can be 1000mg, but post-menopausal women, older adults and adolescents may require a higher intake.
Foods like cheese, yogurt, milk and dairy products are rich in calcium, but there are other non-dairy products as well which can be consumed by those who may be lactose-intolerant or are vegan by choice. Here’s a list of non-dairy, calcium-rich foods:
Seeds are tiny, little powerhouse of nutrients and minerals required by the body. Seeds like sesame, celery, chia and poppy seeds are few calcium-rich seeds.
According to the FoodData Central, one tablespoon of poppy seeds contains 127 mg of calcium which is 10% of the Required Daily Intake (RDI), one tablespoon of sesame contains 7% of the RDI along with other nutrients like copper, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, proteins and magnesium.
Lentils and Beans
Beans and lentils are not only high in calcium but also contain fibers, proteins, iron, folates, zinc, potassium and magnesium.
According to the FoodData Central, one cup of cooked winged beans contains 244 mg of calcium or 19% of the RDI. Similarly white beans also contain 12% of RDI but other beans and lentils have a comparatively lesser calcium content which is below 5%.
Beans and lentils also have the potential to lower LDL levels and prevent type-2 diabetes.
Among nuts almonds have the highest calcium content. One ounce of almonds or around 23 almonds contains 6% of the RDI. Almonds also provide healthy fats, fiber and proteins. When it comes to minerals, it contains vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Regular consumption of almonds can lower the blood pressure, unhealthy body fat and prevent metabolic diseases (PubMed Central).
Leafy Green Vegetables
Dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach are rich in calcium and oxalates which are important for the absorption of calcium in the body.
According to FoodData Central, one cup of cooked collard greens contains 268 mg of calcium or 28% of the RDI.
Amaranth is rich in calcium, rich in folates, manganese, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. One cup of cooked amaranth contains 116 mg of calcium or 9% of the RDI. The amaranth leaves contain 21% of the DV and is rich in vitamin A and C as well.
Dried figs are considered as rich sources of calcium, antioxidants and fiber. They provide more calcium than any other dried fruits which is nearly 5% of the RDI. It also contains vitamins and potassium and is beneficial for strong bones.
Moreover, figs have liver-protecting, glucose-lowering properties and protects the digestive system as well.
Soy milk is filled with nutrients like calcium and vitamin D which is beneficial for the bone health. Calcium also prevents osteoporosis or low bone mass thus preventing fractures.
According to th US NIH, one cup of unsweetened soy milk contain 6 gm of protein, 324 mg of calcium and 6 gm of carbs. Calcium prevents low bone density in the post menopausal years and prevents post menopause syndrome as well.
One large-sized sweet potato contain 68 mg of calcium and other nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and vitamin A.
High fiber content in sweet potatoes promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut and keeps the digestive system healthy.
According to the US NIH, one single cup of okra contains 175 gm of calcium. It is a highly nutritious and popular due to the use of several parts like leaves, seeds, pollen, buds, stem and flowers.
A diet rich in okra can protect from a range of health issues like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, accumulation of toxins in the body, prevention of cancer, etc.
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