Calcium-rich foods that are nondairy

By Katie Newsome, MPH, RD, LD Mar 07, 2022 • 4 min

With an increasing interest in plant-based diets, you may be left wondering if you can get  enough calcium from a diet that doesn’t include dairy products. While popular sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, there are also many delicious and healthy nondairy foods that contain calcium. Understanding the best plant-based sources of calcium can help ensure you get enough from your diet.  

Plant-based calcium sources

Nuts and seeds are not just sources of healthy fats. Many of them also include high amounts of calcium. They can be added to salads and oatmeal or spread on toast for a nutritious breakfast. Examples of nuts and seeds that are high in calcium include:

  • Almonds

  • Chia seeds

  • Sesame seeds

Vegetables can also be great sources of dietary calcium without adding a lot of calories. In addition to adding color and flavor to your favorite dishes, these veggies pack a punch of bone-strengthening calcium:

  • Artichokes

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Edamame

  • Leafy green vegetables (such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula and bok choy)

  • Okra

  • Squash

Delicious nuts and veggies are not the only foods that help maintain bone health. There are also a few fruits you'll want to add to the grocery list for optimal calcium intake. The following fruits can also be a source of calcium:

  • Figs

  • Kiwi

  • Fortified orange juice

There are many additional sources of nondairy calcium to consider when putting together your weekly grocery shopping list. Beans, fortified products and protein-rich soy products can also help provide calcium. These include: 

  • Calcium-set tofu

  • Fortified almond milk

  • Fortified cereal

  • Fortified nondairy yogurt

  • Garbanzo beans

  • Pinto beans

Monitoring calcium intake at all ages and life stages is important to ensure proper bone and cardiovascular health. If you're vegan, vegetarian or lactose-intolerant, it’s important to make sure that you’re meeting your calcium needs. Increasing nondairy, calcium-rich foods can help ensure optimal health in the long term. Calcium supplements can also be helpful if it’s not possible to get adequate calcium from your diet. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking supplements.

Published March 2022.

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