A message to all you little vegans out there who are feeling a bit stumped as to how to incorporate your daily dose of calcium into your ‘dairy-free’ vegan diet, well fear no more because you’re in the perfect place! Calcium is a naturally occurring mineral which can be found in a wide range of scrummy foods (and surprisingly not only dairy foods!)
Being the most abundant mineral in the body, calcium has many benefits which expand
far beyond being essential to maintain strong bones and teeth. The more unfamiliar perks of this fundamental nutrient is it’s ability to aid towards healthy blood vessels, regulate blood pressure and even counteract insulin resistance which in turn helps prevent the risk of Type 2 diabetes. So, with a recommended daily intake of 1,000 mg, which in more simple terms for those dairy-eaters, this accounts as a little more than one glass of skimmed milk, a thick slice of cheese and a regular pot of yogurt. However for those who are plant-eaters, lactose intolerant or simply don’t like the taste of dairy products it’s not all that lucid.
Rest assured there’s no need to look any further than your local grocery-store aisle to find a magical abundance of ‘au natural’ and dairy free sources of calcium- so here goes!
1. Collard Greens
This loose leaved Southern favourite (goes great sautéed with olive oil and garlic!) which is a part of the Acephala group holds up to a quarter of your daily calcium requirements as well as being loaded with three day’s worth of vitamin A- so let’s just say your eyes will never see a dull day!
This vibrant green veggie contains masses of calcium and bears twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange. Believe it or not it has also has been proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colon and bladder cancer, so this pungent, cruciferous green sure is one to include in your diet- vegan or not!
Kale (being my favourite superfood) really does have it all, not to mention 101mg per serving. It is packed to the rim with calcium and other antioxidants meaning it is a must in your raw organic diet. Plus if you’re not too keen on it’s strong taste this leafy veggie tastes delish when incorporated into an avocado and apricot salad- the perfect dish for these bright autumn days!
These succulent, flowering Asian fruits part of the mulberry family provide a hefty dose of your daily intake of calcium as well as fibre, potassium and magnesium. Without off-tracking too much magnesium is a key mineral involved in human metabolism which is essential for the body to fuel over 300 biomechanical reactions, maintaining muscle function and keeping your heart rhythm steady.
These nectarous, immune-boosting foods limited in calories yet bursting with antioxidants contain a large dose of calcium and if you’re a lover of tangy foods their citric essence is enough to brighten up any dish!
I know what you’re probably thinking… what on this planet is tofu? Tofu is a vegetarian alternative to meat mainly made up of grounded up and boiled soy beans and although this meaty alternative which is high in protein isn’t exactly my favourite veggie substitute it is highly sufficient in calcium- so if you haven’t tried it as of yet why not give it a go!
One of my favourite nuts, these yummy little bites contain up to 75mg of calcium per ounce! Packed to the brim with calcium on a par with providing 12% of your daily recommended amount of protein they are also rich in vitamin E and potassium- making them a scrummy snack to devour in in moderation.
8. Bok Choy
Bok Choy? Some alien thriving edible plant? No no, having never come across this member of the cruciferous family until a few weeks ago it really is one which I’m hoping to try very soon! Being an excellent source of calcium, vitamin C and other antioxidants this leafy veggie has powerful anti-inflammatory powers which not only lower the risk of oxygen-based damage to your cells and body systems, but they also lower your risk of unwanted chronic inflammation.
Another alien-like food, tapioca provides a modest supply of calcium- specifically 20mg per 100 grams. This delicious starch extract derived from the Cassava plant has the ability to help in healthy weight gain, increase circulation and red blood cell count, improve digestion, lower cholesterol, prevent diabetes, improve metabolic activities, protect heart health and even maintain fluid balance within the body- the list is endless!
10. Chia seeds
Leaving my favourite till last- chia seeds provide 300 mg of calcium per 1.5 ounces serving, making them one of the highest calcium providing non-dairy foods. Native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala this species of flowering plant from the mint family, is loaded with calcium and can be used in a wide range of recipes from breakfast, lunch, dinner and even smoothies and desserts! Chia seeds are classed as one of the best sources of fibre in the world, 40% of them being fibre, by weight! As a result of all their fibre content chia seeds absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like substance and expanding in your stomach which in turn increases ‘fullness’ due to slower absorption of your food and thus helps you to automatically eat fewer calories.
Here is just a few of the many dairy-free foods out there containing hefty doses of calcium which are suitable for non-dairy eaters, those with wheat intolerance or even those who just simply don’t like the taste of dairy products. Take a stroll down your grocery aisle to pick out these calcium-rich foods brimming with goodness and never miss out on your daily dose of calcium!
Hope this was helpful!
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