If you have turned vegan and for those who are lactose intolerant, here’s a list of calcium sources to meet your daily requirement.
Calcium is a mineral found in many foods that are dairy and non-dairy. It is an important nutrient, as there is more calcium in the body than other minerals. Calcium helps maintain and build bones, if your bones are strong, you can effortlessly go about your day-to-day routine.
When your calcium intake meets the daily requirement, apart from strong bones it helps regulate blood pressure, nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
For every adult, the daily calcium requirement is 1000mg per day, although for adults over 50 it’s 1200mg and 1300mg for children between the ages 4-18.
While 250ml of milk contains 300mg of calcium there are plenty of foods that are rich in calcium that do not contain dairy and provide calcium equivalent to a glass of milk.
Here are 10 sources of calcium for those who are vegan and lactose intolerant:
– Tofu – A by-product of soybean and a nutrient powerhouse. Tofu is rich in calcium and vitamin D among other nutrients. It is made by pressing curdled soy milk into a block. Tofu has many health benefits, it regulates body temperature, boosts brain health, improves bone density, and regulates blood pressure.
About 100gms of tofu contains 680 mg of calcium. Tofu can be consumed in many ways – one can use it like cottage cheese. It can be used in making cheesecake as it provides amazing texture. Or you can simply stir fry some tofu with colourful vegetables such as bell peppers.
– Chia seeds – Powerhouse of nutrients! Chia seeds are known to have low calorie and high nutrient value. It is rich in antioxidants, omega3 fatty acids, protein and an excellent source of calcium. Its health benefits include a stronger heart and regulated blood sugar levels among others.
About 45gms of chia seeds contains 300 mg of calcium. You can soak the chia seeds overnight with some coconut milk and you can enjoy chia pudding with some tropical fruits for breakfast or as a midday snack.
– Figs – A fruit associated with health and prosperity. Figs are packed with nutrients and are a rich source of calcium and potassium. It increases bone density, improves digestion, and reduces high blood pressure. Apart from all the health benefits, it satiates sweet cravings.
About eight figs contain 241 mg of calcium. However, it is advised to consume no more than two-three figs in a day as it is high in sugar. But incorporating one fig post-meal as a dessert will help you meet your calcium requirement.
– Sesame seeds – An excellent source of calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sesame seeds contain antibacterial properties and are widely used in beauty cosmetics. Its health benefits include improved bone health, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents and treats cancer cells, and improves blood sugar levels.
About 30gms of white or black sesame seeds contains 300mg of calcium. Two tablespoons of sesame seeds of your choice in the salad or as a condiment are equivalent to a glass of milk. Roasted sesame seeds can be grounded into tahini and can be used as a dressing for your salad. However, too much consumption of sesame seeds can cause constipation, hence one must be mindful.
– Poppy seeds – Powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrients. Poppy seeds are a great addition to boost calcium intake. It contains anti-inflammatory properties, boosts skin and heart health, aids digestion and is popularly known for sleep-inducing properties.
About 20 gms of poppy seeds or khus-khus contains 300 mg of calcium. You can use it in porridge, pudding or halwa. Another way of using poppy seeds is with potato, you can make aloo posto and serve it for lunch. Incorporating poppy seeds into your diet is an excellent way to boost your daily calcium requirement.
– Ragi flour – Popular gluten-free ingredient. Ragi or finger millets are known to have various health benefits and is considered among the ultimate superfoods. Its health benefits include improved bone density, regulated blood sugar levels, nourishment for hair and skin, aids digestion and boosts nervous system function.
About 100gms of ragi (three medium-sized roti) contains 300 mg of calcium. Ragi flour can be consumed in various ways, ragi dosa for breakfast or ragi halwa for dessert.
– Fenugreek leaves – Dark green veggies are an essential part of a well-balanced diet. Fenugreek leaves or methi are rich in antioxidants and calcium among other nutrients. Its health benefits include regulated blood sugar levels, stronger bones and improved digestion.
About 150gms of methi leaves (one bowl) contains 300 mg of calcium. Methi paratha for breakfast or a bowl of cooked methi for lunch will help you meet your calcium requirement. Another refreshing way of incorporating methi is by using micro fenugreek greens for salad.
– Moringa powder – Packed with nutrients and healing properties every part of the moringa tree is nutrient-dense. Moringa leaves are rich in calcium and antioxidants. It is known to boost immunity, prevent inflammatory diseases and regulate blood sugar levels.
About 15gms of moringa powder contains 300 mg of calcium. Moringa tea in the morning or evening will help you not only meet your calcium requirement but also strengthen your immune system.
– Kidney beans – Beans are a rich source of vegan protein and calcium. It reduces the risk of heart diseases, and moderates blood sugar levels.
About 100gms of raw kidney beans contains 140mg of calcium. That is two small bowls of cooked kidney beans is equivalent to a glass of milk.
– Almonds – Rich in omega3 fatty acids, almonds are also packed with calcium and other nutrients. A handful of nuts every day is good for your brain, however, when it comes to nuts moderation is key.
About 50 gms of almonds contains 130 mg of calcium. Soaking 10-12 almonds overnight and eating them first thing in the morning will help you meet your calcium requirement.
Whether you are lactose intolerant or vegan, meeting your daily calcium requirement is easier than ever. Consuming calcium-rich foods is crucial for bone health. Incorporating the above non-dairy sources into your daily diet will make you feel healthier and stronger.