High Calcium Foods List – Top 11 Plant Based Sources

 

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Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life: it builds strong bones, helps blood clotting, is vital for transmitting messages through the nerves, and also in the release of certain hormones. If we don’t get enough of this vital mineral through our diet then our body will leach it from our bones, leaving them weak and vulnerable. This high calcium foods list will show you the top 9 plant food sources of this essential mineral.

PLANT BASED EATING

assorted fresh fruit heart shape

If you’re striving towards a more plant based way of living then you may very well be wondering just how your’e going to meet your calcium needs. Most of us have been conditioned to believe that we can only get calcium from dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, but this is simply not true.

In fact, it’s so far from the truth that you probably won’t believe that I’m about to tell you that there are many plant foods that are actually HIGHER in calcium than dairy products. Yep, fact!

Not only are these foods high in calcium, but they are also super healthy in other respects and are higher in protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. This can make the plant based diet, when done correctly with attention to what you are eating, a very healthy way of life.

Plant based and vegan diets are not necessarily healthy:-

Attention to what you’re eating is the important part here as your health could actually be worse off if you become a junk food vegan. It is crucial before embarking on any restrictive eating plan that you have an understanding of what your body needs and exactly which foods you need to be eating to obtain it.

GETTING THE NUTRIENTS YOU NEED

On a plant based diet you need to make sure you get enough protein (which is actually way easier than you think); also adequate amounts of calcium, low GI carbohydrates, and a full spectrum of nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

vitality. energetic

Sounds hard, and like too much effort right? Well believe me, I thought the same thing when I started out on the plant based lifestyle, but the benefits have been so great that I could never go back. Clear skin, clarity, vitality, and increased energy are the most prominent side effects I have noticed since cutting animal products completely from my diet.

These side effects of a plant based diet are due to the anti inflammatory effects of alkaline plant foods. Chronic inflammation is rife what with our Western diets of too much sugar, trans fats, and junk foods, and is a big contributor of disease and ill health. This is the reason I have felt so much healthier and more alive since converting to this way of eating, and I rarely get sick!

Learning the basics:-

plate of healthy foods

You don’t need to know everything right away; just the basics of food combining and the rest you will learn as you go along. It is so easy nowadays to live the plant based lifestyle what with the internet being awash with vegan recipes, and our supermarkets have also followed suit by stocking plant milks, cheeses, frozen meals, coconut ice creams (yummy by the way), and loads of other goodies. 

Even fast food joints and restaurants are adding vegan menus, allowing you to eat out without being looked upon like an alien from outer space when you order your plate of vegetables. It’s literally never been easier to convert to this lifestyle than it is right now, and it’s only set to become an even bigger trend this year.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH CALCIUM?

When you start eating plant based, or even if you have decided to cut out dairy for whatever reason (maybe you are dairy intolerant), then you will need to be mindful of getting enough calcium into your diet, and it is best to get this from food which is more natural rather than take supplements which just aren’t absorbed as readily.

You MUST have calcium for strong bones… Simple!

human skeleton

Calcium is SO important to health because when you don’t get enough your bones get weaker, leaving you more susceptible to not only to breakages, but the dreaded osteoporosis that affects 1 in 2 females and 1 in 4 males at some point in their lives. These odds do often have other factors involved, such as genetics, ethnicity, bone structure, body weight, certain diseases, and some medications, BUT getting enough calcium is a major player in stopping these!

Of course these risks can be negated by making sure that you eat a healthy diet that meets all your calcium needs. You should also stay within a healthy weight range, and be sure to keep your bones strong through weight bearing exercise. It’s important that you do both of these things to see and feel the real benefits; one without the other may not cut it!

HOW MUCH CALCIUM DO I NEED?

CHILDREN – 1300MG PER DAY

WOMEN UNDER 50 – 1000MG PER DAY

WOMEN OVER 50 – 1,200MG PER DAY

MEN UNDER 70 – 1000MG PER DAY

MEN OVER 70 – 1,200 MG PER DAY

HIGH CALCIUM FOODS LIST – 9 PLANT BASED FOOD SOURCES

 1. TOFU

tofu with sesame seeds

Tofu can be one of the best sources of calcium on a plant based diet, which is due to the fact that most tofu is already fortified with it. You will need to check different brands to find one that contains good amounts but some can offer up to 33% of your daily intake in just one cup.

Tofu is also extremely high in plant protein, and contains all 8 amino acids; plus iron, copper, zinc, B1, and the minerals manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. 

Soy products are estrogenic, and can lead to hormone disruptions in both men and women if eaten in large quantities so you should stick with just a couple of servings a week

2. BLACK EYED PEAS

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup (canned) 370MG 38% of your daily intake.

Beans all contain calcium, but the highest by far are black eyed peas, which can easily be added to stews, soups, and salads. They also contain good amounts of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, D and C, and you can buy them canned for ease of use.

3. KALE AND SWISS CHARD

kale and swiss chard

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup (cooked) 197MG 19.7% of your daily intake.

Kale and Swiss chard have the highest calcium content of all the vegetables, and also contain fiber, phytonutrients, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C, E and A.

These greens are known superfoods due to their superior nutritional profile, and should be eaten only lightly cooked or steamed to retain their nutrients. I like to saute mine quickly with some coconut oil (fat helps the absorption of many of kale’s nutrients), then add some garlic, chili, and lemon juice. Be sure to add your fresh lemon juice at the very end of the cooking process, otherwise it goes bitter if left to cook in.

4. SESAME SEEDS

bowl of sesame seeds

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 tablespoon 140MG 14% of your daily intake.

Sesame seeds hold the highest calcium content of all the seeds (but the others are also pretty good), and 1 tablespoon contains the same amount of calcium as half a cup of milk. You can easily eat these nutritious little seeds in the form of tahini which can be added to most meals; or use the seeds as a topping sprinkle for cereal. 

Sesame seeds are best eaten ground up into a powder, OR chewed really well as your stomach won’t be able to break them down very easily.

5. BUTTERNUT SQUASH

halved butternut squash

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup 84MG 8.4% of your daily intake.

Not only is butternut squash high in calcium, but it also contains carotenoids which are great for the prevention of heart disease, arthritis and asthma.

It is also a magnificent source of nerve soothing vitamin B6, potassium, folate, panothenic acid, and manganese, making it a vegetable you should be consuming regularly on your plant based diet.

6. ALMONDS

almonds and almond milk

CALCIUM CONTENT- 23 nuts (large handful) 76MG – 7.6% of your daily intake.

Almonds are delicious, and full of protein and nutrients – calcium being one of them. Plus, they are an easy and transportable snack that can be popped into your handbag and taken anywhere. Perfect for those times when you’re tempted to snack on unhealthy fast foods!

They are choc full of fiber, and their skins are said to contain over 20 different antioxidant flavenoids, all of which are good for anti aging. They also contain vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, and potassium to boot – so these are a powerful little nut.

7. ORANGES

freshly squeezed orange juice

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 large orange 75MG – 7% of your daily intake.

Well who knew it? This was even a new one on me! Oranges contain a really significant amount of calcium, are delicious, and like almonds, easily transportable. They also contain what they are, of course, most famous for – vitamin C, along with other nutrients such as potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin A, and magnesium.

Oranges are also great for re-hydrating and refueling sugars after a workout; in fact, this makes them a perfect post workout food that you can just throw in your gym bag and off you go!

8. SWEET POTATO

basket of sweet potatoes

CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 large potato 68MG – 7% of your daily intake.

I just love sweet potato wedges baked in the oven with coconut oil and spices like garlic, paprika, and chili flakes. In fact, they are just so versatile and can be incorporated into any meal, and they’re healthier and lower GI than your average white spud. Low glycemic foods keep blood sugar stable and weight under control.

As with all orange coloured fruits and vegetables, sweet potato is high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Sweet potatoes are another super food because of their superior nutrient content, and they are also high in vitamin C, B6, and magnesium.

9. BROCCOLI

floret of broccoli

CALCIUM CONTENT 1 cup 62MG – 6% of your daily intake.

Another one of nature’s super foods, broccoli is not only high in vitamin A, but also contains a compound that has the ability to work on a genetic level to ‘switch off’ cancer genes AND to hinder the progression of cancer. Now if that’s not a super food then I don’t know what is.

It is also one of the highest protein vegetables, and contains lots of vitamin C, B6 and vitamin A.

10. FIGS

fresh who;e figs

CALCIUM CONTENT – per 3 figs – 52MG – 5% of your daily intake.

Figs, both raw and dried also contain magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, B6,and vitamin K, so they really are a fantastic addition to any healthy diet plan. They are delicious fresh when in season, but equally as good when dried as they go all sweet and chewy.

Add them chopped to salads; or bake fresh figs with a little honey for the ultimate sweet treat. Great with coconut yogurt, for breakfast or dessert.

11. GREEN SUPERFOOD POWDERS

spirulina and chlorophyl

There are many different types of green superfood powders such as wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, Chlorella, and moringa to name just a few. This thing they all have in common is that along with a super high antioxidant and phytonutrient content, they all contain high levels of calcium as most green leafy foods do.

A shot of green superfood powder is vital on the plant based diet if you really want to take your health to the next level and be doubly sure you are meeting all your nutrient needs. These amazing, specially formulated powders give you energy, vitality, clarity, immune support, better sleep, anti aging benefits on the inside AND out, and many, many more benefits. Ty it for yourself if you don’t believe me!

Check out this YouTube video for a delicious way to get your calcium in a homemade chocolate treat.

Thank you for reading posts from zestforever and supporting the plant based eating cause. If you have any questions about plant based calcium or the plant based diet then please feel free to post below. Thanks

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Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2019! And I myself have been living this healthful lifestyle for over 2 years and feel pretty awesome for it. So, I decided to design this website to share the experiences of my own plant based transformation with others; and to also show how I did it safely and healthily to ensure I met all my nutritional requirements.

Good nutrition has helped me through many health issues in the past. I have lived, breathed, studied, tried, and tested healthy foods and food fads for as long I can remember. but I know that plant based eating is most definitely here to stay. Additionally, I have studied Sports Nutritional Advisory, Nutritional Therapy, and Clinical Weight Loss to add to my knowledge and understanding of nutritional human needs.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical disease or illness. It's merely meant as a way of showing you how to boost your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods, instead of junk foods.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by! Have a happy plant based life, and please feel free to drop me a line in the comments thread below any time :)

20 thoughts on “High Calcium Foods List – Top 11 Plant Based Sources”

  1. Hello there! My mom just went to the doctor and I was with her. The doctor said that she should take high calcium food to help her with with her bones because she’s getting older now. My mom doesn’t drink milk anymore and now I want to help her to provide the needed calcium she needs to intake. Luckily, I found and read your article which is very informative and helpful. MY mom will love this information of foods that are high in calcium. I will surely share this to her. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Hi John, well that’s just great that you came across this article then! Yes, calcium is especially important as people get older to help stop osteoporosis and fractures etc. And getting calcium from food sources rather than tablets is way more effective. If she does decide to go for supplements then you have to be really careful what you buy as some of it isn’t absorbable and can even actually be bad for you. It’s best to find out from a trained medical herbalist what would be the best to take.

      I know this because I work with a herbalist and I often hear her saying to people the certain calcium supplements they are taking are bad (usually these are the ones prescribed by doctors or cheaper brands).

      Also, another crucial ting for strong bones is weight bearing/resistance exercise such as gym work, weights, power walking and swimming among others. Hope this helps and good luck to your mum.

  2. Hi Stefanie,

    Great article!

    Thank you for this useful food list! I knew there were very healthy but what I didn’t know is that they contain a high amount of calcium. That’s exactly what I needed!
    I’ve heard somewhere that tofu is healthy, but when eating it in large quantity, it can become dangerous. Have you already heard about this?
    I am 40 plus now, and you know that the more we get older, the more we need calcium:). So my question is, will my body receive all the calcium required by eating these foods or should I take some supplements too?

    Thank you very much for this excellent post!

    • Hi Danielle, yes tofu is healthy, and full of calcium if you buy the fortified versions which most of them are, but you need to check labels to be sure. And Yes, soya can be bad if you have hormonal problems as it’s estrogenic and so can mimic estrogen in the body causing distruptions. I am in your age group and notice if I have to much soy it messes with my periods…I can however have a little, say a couple of portions a week and it doesn’t affect me. 

      As for calcium supplements, I much prefer to try and get my calcium from food sources where possible because it is much more readily absorbed by the body. Also, I have read that calcium supplements aren’t actually that good for you long term. 

  3. Hello and thanks for sharing your post that is well detailed and has a ton of great information. Calcium is so important because this is one of the building blocks that the body needs in order to function well.
    it is good to know that we can get this vitamin in natural ways from the foods that we eat.

    • Hi Norman, yes getting enough calcium is crucial, and something I am very aware of now I have turned to a plant based lifestyle. I want my bones to live into old age that’s for sure!

  4. Hi Stefanie,

    Great post. I have been on a plant based diet for a couple of years now (Still trying to wean myself off fish though! haha) and eat most of the above. I love my almonds, kale, pumpkin, sweet potatoes. I often get asked how do I get calcium if I don’t eat dairy.

    I am going to bookmark your site and share this post with as many people as I can. It answers the calcium debate beautifully! Thanks for a brilliant post.

    Kev

    • Hi Kevin, thank you so much, I really appreciate you saying those things and you have made my day. Yes, I too have problems with people asking me where I get my calcium if I don’t eat dairy, and it always amuses me as I’m always so much healthier than them as I never get sick! Ha ha. Next time somebody asks you that you should point out all the many countries and cultures who don’t eat dairy at all and are in fact all lactose intolerant, but are healthier and have way less disease than our society. There’s obviously a link there.

      It’s great you eat so well, I don’t think you should beat yourself up about the fish as it does offer health benefits. In fact, I watched a television programme not long ago about one of the longest living cultures in the world from some island near Japan and they just lived on fish, fruit, and vegetables. Their average age was 120 years or something like that.

      It just shows how much of out lifespan the average Western diet is taking away from us. Still…we are starting to learn.

  5. Great article, when we talk about high calcium, only dairy products came into our minds but that is not true and you have mentioned it so so nicely. Even citrus juices can help us building good calcium stores for stronger bones. Great article, very informative and useful.

    • Yes, you’re right about citrus juices being high in calcium. Even I was shocked about how much calcium is in an Orange! I am now going to make a special effort to eat one every day to boost my supply. I do prefer to eat the whole fruit rather than juices as you could easily way 10 oranges in one glass of juice and that is just an unnatural among of fructose to be putting in your body in one hit.

      They actually say that fruit juices are just as bad as soft drinks when it comes to the blood sugar spike they give you. It doesn’t matter if they are healthier in other ways they still give you a huge insulin response which in the long term can promote obesity, diabetes and all the other nasty things that come along with that. So my advice, stick to the whole fruit just like mother nature intended and you can’t go wrong.

  6. Hi Stephanie,

    Hold on, you telling me sweet potatoes contain more calcium than milk? I did not even know any of the foods you listed contained any calcium lol. I thought calcium was just contained in things like milk and cheese etc.

    Well, I eat those potatoes, kale and beans – but I will be hunting for a few more of those foods to incorporate into interesting and healthy meals. Thank you very much as I am trying to find an affordable and healthy shopping list for the week and seen your post.

    I will be back for more Stephanie and thanks again.

    Regards,

    Philip.

    • Hi Philip, yes so many people think they can only get calcium from dairy products but it’s just not true. In fact there are whole countries and cultures that don’t consume dairy and they are perfectly healthy if not healthier than our culture. Go figure hey lol.

      To be honest, I didn’t realise this about calcium myself until I started on a plant based diet and started studying it in depth. As for the sweet potatoes, I’m not sure if they are as high as milk, I would have to go back and check as I did say ‘some of these’ are higher than milk. But the first half of the list definitely are. And I’m sure the sweet potatoes would be close anyway.

      The thing is, I have read from quite a few different sources now that as dairy products are mostly acid forming, they actually leach more calcium out of our bones to process the calcium in the dairy but I don’t know how true this is. But it does actually makes sense when you think about how our high animal/dairy based culture is one of the unhealthiest in the world. And we get higher incidence of osteoporosis etc. Food for thought Hey, which is why I get mine from the plants now.

  7. I certainly would not have thought of Black Eyed Peas having the most calcium of any plant based food! And I’ve been teaching health and nutrition classes for over 25 years! That’s just so fantastic to know. I love this list, and that you mentioned the percentage of daily amount of calcium that each provide. Thank you so much for putting this together for us. It is truly a wonderful resource to have!

    • Hi Shelley, that’s great you teach nutrition, you are a woman after my own heart! I know, there are so many great calcium foods out there that are completely animal free. I have researched this field a lot more thoroughly now I have turned to the plant based way of eating because I wanted to make sure that I got all the right nutrition. I have seen a few people go vegan and make themselves sick because they had no idea what they were doing and did no research. I definitely didn’t want to make that mistake.

      Luckily, I have just felt fantastic the whole year that I’ve been doing this, and I haven’t been sick once, so I take this as evidence that all is well.
      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you learnt something new.

  8. Are there some more nutrition foods like this to help you with this calcium problem? What about fruits and meat and cerals? And one suggestion – remove this CAPTCHA thing!

    • Hi Marko, yes loads of other foods contain calcium but I was just doing the top 9 plant sources. Many of the other nuts and seeds not mentioned all have calcium and also many other vegetables, especially the green leafy kind. As far as I’m aware meat doesn’t as all the calcium in an animal would have been stored in its bones.

      As for this CAPTCHA thing I have no idea what you mean. I’m pretty new to this but I will definitely find out! Thanks.

  9. Mmmm sesame and sweet potatoes, two of my absolute favorite things.
    My grandmother had to take a calcium supplement, it was liquid and disgusting, a thick white liquid she had to take by the spoonful. I wonder if that’s still a thing…and I wonder if her needs could have been met simply with more kale and tofu!

    • Yes, I think they gave that liquid out to quite a few people, my mum was given these big white horse pill tablets to take. Thing is, calcium supplements don’t absorb too well so could of been a waste of time. Not that I’m telling anybody they should stop taking them, just be sure to get what you need from foods sources as at least you know it’s absorbed.

  10. Oh my God, such an amazing post you have shared. We all know that mostly milk and dairy products are the calcium rich foods, I didn’t know that squash, broccoli and tofu are that rich in calcium. I am going to include these in my regular meal plans from now onwards. I am your regular reader and always love to read your articles. Looking forward for more articles from you. Great Work.

    • Yes, not many people know that there are so many great plant sources of calcium, they mostly just presume it comes from animal products. I much prefer the plant sources now I am into plant based eating and it is also way more important to eat these foods if you don’t eat dairy products. Either way, most of the foods on that list are also super healthy and have lots of other great nutrients and benefits so you get the best of both worlds.

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