I’m sure you have heard many times that it is important to consume dairy and meat products as they are primary sources for calcium, which is fundamental to maintaining strong bones and avoiding certain diseases related to loss of calcium. But what about people who have lactose intolerance or who are allergic to casein, two substances present in all dairy products?
Especially for all the people who are strict vegetarians or vegans, or who simply do not want to consume these products for health reasons, is there a dietary alternative? One rich in calcium, but without dairy derivatives or meat?
Of course! It is very possible to obtain the necessary daily amount of calcium from plant-based foods. In the following, you will find a list of vegetable foods that have a high calcium content.
Soy: An Excellent Alternative
Soy flour contains approximately 200 mg of calcium every 100 grams of product, which is exactly the amount found in cow’s milk. Therefore tofu and soy cutlets are ideal foods to get calcium.
Spinach: Better Raw Than Cooked
Spinach also is a calcium-rich food. 100 grams of spinach contain aproximately 210 mg of calcium, although if you eat it boiled that number reduces to 158 mg. On the other hand, spinach contains oxalates and fibre, substances that can limit calcium absorption in the intestine. Overall, frequent consumption of spinach can be a great option to get calcium, as long as it is not the only source of this mineral that is part of your diet.
Savoy Cabbage and Watercress
Savoy cabbage and watercress are also counted among the vegetables with the best source of calcium. 100 g of cress can contain up to 20% of the recommended daily intake, so it is another good option to consider.
Savoy cabbage contains 150 mg of calcium every 100 g of product. Also, the calcium present in cabbage has better bioavailability than the calcium in spinach because it does not contain oxalates.
Hazelnuts, Almonds, and Oily Seeds
Dried fruits, like hazelnuts and almonds, are ideal foods to substitute for milk. Many people with lactose intolerance or allegeries to casein maintain a good level of calcium by eating portions of dried fruits every day, as they contain more than 200 mg of calcium every 100 g of product.
In addition, this calcium source can be complemented with a daily handful of sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, or poppy seeds.
More Advice For Making the Most of Calcium Present in Foods
One must always take into consideration that consumption of alcohol, coffee, and high salt content in foods can interfere in calcium absorption. Once calcium has entered the body, the next step is to have it affix itself to the bones. To achieve this, you should get enough sun (vitamin D) and exercise regularly.
If you have any doubts about how much calcium you need, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding, consult your physician.