40 top Plant-Based sources of Calcium
40 natural ways to get enough Calcium on a plant-based diet!
Whenever we think of bones the mineral that comes to our mind is calcium. We’ve been told since childhood that we should be drinking lots of milk to get the much-needed calcium for growth!
Calcium not only helps in the formation of bones and teeth, but it is also important for the functioning of nerves and muscles including the heart, and also helps in clotting of blood. It is the most abundant mineral of our body making up almost 2% of our body weight. Therefore, the daily requirement of calcium is relatively higher as compared to other nutrients.
Recent studies indicate that plant-based sources of calcium are much better as compared to milk-based sources. This is because plant-based sources help in better retention of calcium in the body and are devoid of any cholesterol (which is usually produced in animals). With the rising trends of veganism, we’re now aware of better sources of calcium obtained from plant-based foods!
How much calcium do I need?
The recommended daily intake for calcium for an average person is around 1000 mg per day. are as follows. Below is a broad guideline for the amount of calcium one needs –
- Infants 1-3 years – 700 mg / day
- Children 4-8 years – 1000 mg / day
- Adolescents 10-18 years – 1300 mg / day
- Women, Men – 1000 mg / day
- Elderly ( >50 yrs for men, >70 yrs for women) – 1300 mg / day
Meeting your daily calcium requirement is not all that hard when you read about the top food sources of calcium and see how you can fill out your numbers easily. If you’re eating a varied plant-based diet, with lots of greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, etc., you’ll be getting ample amounts.
Here are some common plant-based / vegan sources of Calcium – (a complete guide with the amount of calcium is given at the end of this post)
PULSES (LENTILS & LEGUMES)
Pulses are very good sources of calcium, especially since they are consumed regularly in vegetarian diets. In particular Bengal gram, green gram, black gram, red lentils, and kidney beans provide good amounts of calcium. Soya beans and soy products are equally good sources of calcium especially for those who are lactose intolerant.
Ragi or Finger Millet is an excellent source of calcium. Since, cereals are generally poor in calcium, substituting even small amounts of this millet would be really helpful. Some other millets that also have higher amounts of calcium are Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum (Jowar), Buckwheat etc.
Make this Finger Millet & Multi-grain porridge for a calcium-rich breakfast!
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
If you love your methi ka saag, sarson ka saag, dhania / pudina ki chutney, then you are on the right track to getting the calcium in abundance. Spinach and Kale have lots of calcium. Additionally, so do drumstick leaves, pumpkin leaves, broccoli, and radish leaves.
NUTS AND DRY FRUITS
Adding a handful of dry fruits like black currants, dates, figs, apricots, and nuts like almonds, peanuts to your food can be a tasty way to boost the intake of calcium. These nuts and fruits are packed with nutrients and are literally powerful as snacking options, too.
Our very own sesame (til) is plenteous in calcium. Just about 100 g of seeds provide a whopping 1450 mg of calcium – much above the daily requirement of an individual!! We also have flax seeds – which can literally be added to anything to boost our calcium intake.
The countryside guavas, gooseberry (amla), sweet limes, kiwi and oranges are all calcium-rich fruits. So, have enough of these delicious, nutritious fruits when they are in season.
LIST OF PLANT-BASED SOURCES OF CALCIUM with the Nutrition Information
|Sr||Food Source||Calcium Amount (per 100 g)|
|1||Basil (dried)||2240 mg|
|2||Poppy seeds||1440 mg|
|3||Rosemary (dried)||1280 mg|
|5||Sesame seeds (til)||1000 mg|
|7||Cloves (laung)||630 mg|
|8||Chia Seeds||630 mg|
|9||Spirulina powder||460 mg|
|10||Black Pepper||440 mg|
|11||Tahini paste||425 mg|
|13||Fenugreek Leaves (Methi)||395 mg|
|14||Almond Butter||347 mg|
|15||Finger Millet (Ragi)||344 mg|
|17||Flaxseeds (alsi)||255 mg|
|19||Amaranth (Rajgira)||215 mg|
|20||Bengal Gram (chana dal)||202 mg|
|21||Goji Berry||190 mg|
|23||Brazil Nuts||160 mg|
|25||Beans (Legumes), cooked||140 mg|
|27||Spinach leaves||99 mg|
|30||Hemp Seeds||70 mg|
|32||Green Peas||25 mg|
|34||Cashew Nuts||37 mg|
|35||Lentils, cooked||20 mg|
|36||Molasses||41 mg / tablespoon|
|37||Oranges||38 mg / orange|
|38||Soy Milk||300 mg / cup|
|39||Almond Milk||450 mg / cup|
|40||Coconut Milk||220 mg / cup|
Besides the above, if you’re working out or training for physically intensive events, doctors and nutritionists also advise for calcium supplements. Now, while taking a supplement is not all that bad, you must try and get as much calcium from natural sources as possible!
Also – getting enough vitamin D enhances calcium absorption. So make sure you get that good sunlight whenever you can to make the best use of calcium! 🙂
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