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9 Non-Dairy Foods High in Calcium
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9 Non-Dairy Foods High in Calcium

Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, to control blood pressure, and to assure that your muscle cells and nerves are working properly. About 1000 mg/per day should be consumed by adults. In a traditional western diet, that means about an eight ounce glass of milk per day. But what are the options for those who are vegan? It is a well-known fact that there are a lot of leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fruits that contain calcium. Here are nine of them, and tips on how to easily incorporate them into your diet.

1. Collard Greens:

Calcium Content: 268 milligrams per 1 cup cooked

Collard Greens are one of the richest plant-food sources of calcium. The Harvard school of Public Health recommends collards as a source of calcium, particularly for vegans. In addition, collards loaded with Vitamin A, a nutrient that sharpens your eyes as you age. Moreover, these greens have a strong cholesterol lowering ability, and can serve as a cancer protection agent.

However, it is important to remember not to overly-cook your collards, as they will then begis to emit unpleasant sulfur. To cook collard greens, evenly slice the leaves into ½ inch slices, and stems into ¼-inch pieces at the outset. Collard greens are often traditionally cooked with butter and fattening meats like bacon, but they also taste great when sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

2. Broccoli:

Calcium Content: 86 milligrams in 2 cups raw

Broccoli is another important calcium source for those who don’t consume dairy. It contains nearly twice the vitamin C of an orange. It also shields you from various diseases. Thus, eating broccoli will provide you a high concentration of calcium, along with numerous other nutrients and provide a host of benefits.

If you're looking include a range of calcium-rich foods in your diet, broccoli is a good choice. But if you are not too keen on the flavor or texture, serve it with little olive oil and some chilli flakes, or mix it into a soup. Broccoli can also be juiced.

3. Broccoli Rabe:

Calcium Content: 100 milligrams in one 2/3-cup serving

Broccoli Rabe (pronounced “rahb”) is slightly more bitter than its cousin. In addition to calcium, it will meet your daily requirement of Vitamin A and C, both of which destroy dangerous free radicals that can damage your body's cells. This bitter green also has the potential to prevent cancer. Broccoli rabe is available year-round, but winter brings out best in this vegetable.

Reduce the broccoli rabe's bite by cooking it for a brief period of time in salted boiling water. Then, immerse it in ice water. To maximize freshness, remove the twist tie, wrap it in a damp paper towel, put it in a plastic bag, and store it in a refrigerator for up to four days.

4. Kale:

Calcium Content: 101 milligrams in 1 cup raw, chopped

Kale should be included as part of your normal diet, as it provides a day’s worth of vitamin C, Vitamin A, and 101 milligrams of calcium per serving. It is loaded with a hefty dose of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. Kale lowers the risk of cancers, such as cancer of bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate.

To enjoy the maximum nutrition and flavor from kale, it is necessary to cook it properly. Cut the leaves into ½ slices and stems into ¼ lengths to ensure quick cooking. Let them sit for five minutes to enrich their health-promoting qualities, and then steam for about five minutes.

5. Edamame:

Calcium content: 98 milligrams in 1 cup cooked

Edamame has been eaten in China and Japan for thousands of years as it is an excellent nutritional powerhouse. Just a ½ cup of edamame a day gives you a bunch of fiber, protein, and several vitamins/minerals. It's quite high in iron.

To cook edamame, boil the pods in salted water or just steam, then sprinkle with a bit of salt. You can eat edamame hot or cold. To eat edamame, place the pod in your mouth, and squeeze out the beans, composting the pods when finished.

6. Bok Choy:

Calcium Content: 74 milligrams per 1 cup shredded

Bok choy has been used for centuries in China as a traditional medicine. It contains a wealth of vitamins C, A, and K. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron. Thus, it lingers among the most highly recommended of vegetables.

With bok choy, entire vegetable can actually be used, and it is often tossed into raw salads for a nourishing crunch. In soups, the leaves and stalks are sliced and added separately. They take a while to cook. You can also steam or boil bok choy.

7. Figs:

Calcium Content: 121 milligrams per ½ cup dried

Figs are a great source of several essential minerals. However, the nutritional value of figs increases when they are dried. For instance, a half cup of fresh figs provides the calcium equivalent as one and half cups of milk. On the other hand, dried figs contain as much calcium as an egg. Figs-- fresh or dried, contain powerful antioxidants that nullify free radicals in your body, and fight disease.

Remember, figs are perishable and should be refrigerated. Like apples, they can serve as a great sweet snack. Figs can be added either peeled or unpeeled to various recipes.

8. Oranges:

Calcium Content: 74 milligrams in one large orange and 27 milligrams in a cup of orange juice.

As many of us already know, the delicious, juicy orange is a rich source of vitamin C, which fights off germs causing cold and flu. But did you know about it's rich calcium content? Calcium, besides helping in the development of strong bones and teeth, aids blood vessels in circulating blood throughout the body, while releasing hormones and enzymes that affect every important function of the body. Orange peels also contain vitamin C, with 63% of the recommended daily value. These leathery round packages also include vitamin A, B6, vitamins and flavonoids.

9. Almonds:

Calcium Content: 75 milligrams per ounce (about 23 whole almonds)

Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all nuts. One teeny ounce of almonds contains 12% of your recommended daily protein intake, and 35% of daily vitamin E-- a valuable antioxidant, which helps to fight cancer. Almonds may seem rich and fatty, but contain no cholesterol, and of course, abound with calcium and folic acid. Twenty to twenty-five almonds contain as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk, so you can go nuts preventing osteoporosis. If you are pregnant or thinking about it, then almonds are a rich source of folic acid.

In the end, these non-dairy products are fantastic sources of calcium, and span the food groups. After all, why limit yourself to just one?

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Support
    Fantastic information for great vegan health. Thanks for posting to The Flaming Vegan!
  2. Green Vegan
    This is a great list! I voted for you! I would add soy beans to this list, though.
    1. Tasneem
      Edamame is another name for soybeans and I have included it in the list. Anyways thanks for commenting
    Vote #8 Tasneem! It is important that we consider the vitamins and minerals obtained from our food sources!


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