7 “Non-Dairy” Sources of Calcium

By Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor, Stephanie Wu

Got Milk?  Got Calcium? In 1993, the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners created a milk campaign for the California Milk Processor Board. One commentary wrote, “got milk? has become the most remembered tagline in beverage history, outstripping those of beer and soft drink companies with budgets many times the size of ours.”

Famously stylized as “got milk?”, this national campaign encouraged people to drink milk by featuring well-known athletes, actors, and political figures bearing the distinguished “milk mustache.”

What was all the fuss? Milk was nothing new. Milk was not improved. So why did the California Milk Processor Board want to make such a big deal about milk?

The answer:  Milk has many benefits.  It has calcium, a mineral your body needs to maintain strong and healthy bones.

Calcium also helps with bodily functions including muscle movement, blood pressure, and blood clotting.  And of great importance, it maintains the integrity of our bones.

The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams per day for growing kids and for adults, as calcium helps to delay osteoporosis.  

Osteoporosis is a medical condition where bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, usually because of a lack of calcium or Vitamin D.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), worldwide, osteoporosis is the cause of more than 8.9 million fractures annually. And, though most bone fractures occur in postmenopausal women, older men are at moderate risk as well.

As great as it all seems, there is a caution to the milk story: a Swedish study found that higher dairy intake is linked to higher health risks for diseases like cancer and Multiple Sclerosis.  So, like with most everything else in life, milk has its pros and cons and is best to be consumed in moderation.

Other Sources of Calcium

As per Kids Health, the Global Health Healing Center and Draxe, here are other tasty foods that contain ample quantities of calcium.

  • Soy products: soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soybeans (edamame)
  • Canned fish: sardines, salmon
  • Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds
  • Veggies: broccoli, dark green, leafy vegetables (i.e. collard greens, kale, bok choy)
  • Beans: baked beans, navy beans, white beans
  • Calcium-fortified foods: orange juice, soy, almond, or rice milk, cereal
  • Other: Blackstrap molasses, dried herbs, dried fruits and nuts, seaweed, ancient grains such as quinoa and amaranth

So for dinner this week, consider making meals that are rich in calcium. And if you don’t feel like cooking, here are some ready-to-eat options from Healthy Meals Supreme.

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.


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