It's a known fact that calcium is beneficial for bone health, but did you know it's also a vital nutrient for overall health? Calcium plays a crucial role in proper metabolic function, cellular permeability, electrical conductance in the nerves, muscle contractions, properly functioning glands, blood vessels, and blood clotting.
The idea that dairy products are the primary calcium source for humans is untrue. The dairy industry may like you to believe that because it helps their bottom line. But the truth is there are several sources of calcium that have absolutely nothing to do with the dairy industry.
Here are ten dairy-free sources of calcium:
Almond & Coconut Milk:
Both contain higher amounts of vitamin D and calcium than cow's milk, have no hormones, and boast a much longer shelf life than cow's milk. However, cow's milk is the absolute best for growing baby calves.
Chai & Sesame Seeds:
Chia seeds are very high in calcium, omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, and contain boron, a trace mineral that helps calcium get into your bones. Sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and are high in fiber and unsaturated fat. Try adding tahini paste to hummus, or sprinkle the seeds over toast and in cereals.
Chic Peas or Black-eyed Peas:
These beans contain calcium, potassium, folate, and more! Whip up a big bowl of hummus with either black-eyed peas or chickpeas and spread it on pita bread as an appetizer.
Green Leafy Vegetables:
Artichokes, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, dandelion, kale, mustard greens, and turnips are high in calcium and antioxidants. A salad with various vegetables and your favorite toppings makes the perfect side to any meal.
Dried savory spices are high in calcium. Calcium-rich dried or fresh herbs include basil, celery seed, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Add these herbs to soups, salads, and cooked veggies for added flavor and benefit.
Kidney & White Beans:
These legumes are a great source of calcium and iron. Add them to pasta and soups, or make them the star of your homemade chili recipe.
Nuts & Dried Fruits:
Raw nuts such as almonds, and dried fruits, are great for snacking when you're on the go. They're also high in calcium.
Oranges are full of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Enjoy as a mid-day snack, or use to add zing to salads and vinaigrettes.
Seaweeds or sea vegetables are full of calcium, fiber, and iodine, the latter of which helps with proper thyroid function. Add it to soups, stewed vegetables, and grains as they cook. Adding it to dried beans helps to tenderize them as they cook.
This meat alternative made with dried soybeans that have been ground up and boiled takes on the flavor of whatever it's paired with and is a great way to add tons of protein and calcium to your meal. Try adding soft silken organic tofu to fruit smoothies for a great start to your day!
Taking a supplement is another great way to ensure you receive enough calcium. If you're unsure whether taking a supplement suits you, please check with your doctor before you begin.