When we think of calcium, automatically the image of milk, yogurt, cheese, etc, comes to mind, but we don’t know that there are many other sources of this essential nutrient for our daily development. Discover a number of non-dairy foods rich in calcium in the following article
Calcium for everyone’s taste
Calcium is not only present in dairy – this is undoubtedly good news for vegetarians and vegans, but, in addition, also for those who have trouble digesting milk, for example, or for those seeking an alternative to the products that come from cow or sheep.
The groups of non-dairy foods rich in calcium are the following:
- vegetable drinks and juices
- green leafy vegetables
- mineral water
Which are the non-dairy calcium-rich foods?
- Green leafy plants: some of the most important sources of calcium that you can find (much more than dairy), especially kale that provides 135 mg of calcium per 100 grams of raw leaf. At the same time, it contains provitamin A, vitamin K and C. It is considered a “superfood”. Other good choices in this group are the chard and spinach. It can be eaten cooked with other vegetables, in stuffed pies, pizzas, salad, fritters, etc.
- Nuts: almonds are among the best when talking about calcium, with 264 mg of calcium per 100 grams. They also provide magnesium, vitamin E and B2 and manganese. They help reducing cholesterol. Other alternatives are Brazil nuts (160 mg per 100 grams) and hazelnuts. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer or snack (a handful of nuts between meals), to decorate pastries, and as vegetable milks.
- Dried aromatic herbs: they are used sparingly, but if we make a habit from adding them to all the dishes we prepare, in addition to offering more flavor and aroma, we receive a good amount of calcium. Some of them can be prepared as infusion. The most recommended are dried thyme, dill, marjoram, sage, oregano, mint and dried basil.
- Sesame seeds: when they are toasted they bring calcium level up. They can be used to make tahini, a traditional cream in Arabic cuisine. It offers us, at the same time, vitamins B1 and B6, manganese, magnesium and copper. Add them in salads, pies, breads, juices.
- Linseeds: they are similar to sesame seeds – their calcium quantity is comparable. The oil is anti-inflammatory and prevents atherosclerosis. You can make homemade bread with flax, for example, or add it in juices, smoothies, cakes, salads, sauces or creams.
- Legumes: they are an excellent source of calcium (13% of its composition), especially white beans or black beans. In addition, they have other properties, such as leveling blood sugar and blood pressure. Do not consume them in excess because they cause flatulence. Mix the legumes with vegetables to prepare stews and casseroles.
- Dandelion: it is really beneficial for our body, diuretic, good for the liver, and a great antioxidant. The young leaves can be eaten boiled in salads, just as spinach. They offer more calcium than milk (187 mg per 100 grams), you can also cook and eat the roots.
- Orange: it is one of the few fruits that offer us an “interesting” calcium quantity, 65 mg per unit. Moreover, as everyone knows, it is rich in vitamin C. It also can be consumed in smoothies, milkshakes, fruit salads, cakes and other desserts.
- Quinoa and amaranth: they are known as “pseudocereals” and should be included in vegetarian or vegan diets for their great contribution of calcium. Amaranth, for example, is the most nutritious plant that you can find, with 18% of calcium. It can be mixed it with rice, for those who do not drink milk. It can also be eaten as soup or sautéed with vegetables. Likewise, quinoa has beneficial properties for the body; it can be consumed as escalope, in pies, etc.
- Eggshell: ever since antiquity it is said that this part of the egg has a good amount of calcium and helps the metabolism of the body. Wash the egg without scratching the shell, squeeze a lemon and let the juice drop on it. Macerate for 12 hours, remove the egg with a wooden spoon and drink the resulting liquid very slowly.
Breaking down the myths about calcium
In popular belief, it is said that dairy are foods that contain more calcium, which is best absorbed by the body and milk consumption is directly related to the prevention of osteoporosis. Here is the truth about this:
Firstly, you must know that what gives us more calcium are poppy seeds (with 1448 mgr per 100 grams), followed by awake alga (1380). Cow milk has only 120 mg, the same as yogurt. Other sources replete with calcium are kombu seaweed, sesame, soy, almonds and kale (over 150 mg).
Secondly, there is evidence that the best absorbed calcium is the one from algae, followed by green leafy vegetables, nuts, oilseeds, whole grains and legumes. Then come milk and dairy.
Finally, recent research has shown that unlike popular belief, milk can cause osteoporosis if consumed over a lifetime. For example, in the countries where this dairy is consumed the most (Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands) there are more cases of this disease that attacks the bones. In countries where it is less consumed (Liberia, Cambodia, Ghana, Congo), osteoporosis is very rare to find.
Images courtesy of Daniella Segura, Thoranin Tiriwit, Rune T, Jennifer, Jeanette Svensson, Judi, Mario Lopez Egusquiza.