Calcium is a vital mineral for the development and strength of teeth and bones. The FDA recommends getting between 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium every day depending on your age and activity level. Historically, cow’s milk was touted as the only option to get adequate calcium. However, alternative sources of calcium have become more popular. If you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or avoiding dairy for any other reason, there are many other delicious and healthy options out there.
Here are 6 non-dairy choices so you can keep your bones strong and healthy:
Beans- Beans are a fantastic way to provide protein, fiber, and calcium. They also are an excellent substitute for meat due to their protein content.
Bone Broth- Although vegans will not consume bone broth, it is an amazing and flavorful way to get calcium. Calcium is released from the bones of chicken, lamb, beef, or fish bone by simmering them in water for a couple of hours. Adding a splash of vinegar to the water will help release the calcium better. Bone broth is also high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are important for skin health, the nervous system, digestion, and cellular turnover.
Calcium-Fortified Foods- Many everyday foods come fortified with calcium, such as cereal, orange juice, and energy bars.
Seeds- The addition of seeds like chia, sesame, and poppy to your salads, oatmeal, or smoothies will provide a lot of calcium. They also help you feel fuller longer due to their high protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Canned Fish- Canned sardines and other fishes that still include the bones are a great way to up your calcium intake. We love the briny taste of anchovies on caesar salad!
Kale- Kale is a divisive food – it’s either loved or hated! What isn’t up for debate is that dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and spinach have high calcium content and can be prepared in many ways to suit even the pickiest of palates.
There are abundant ways to consume enough calcium to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong without cheese and cow’s milk.