As kids, we were all told at some point to “drink our milk” so we would grow up and be strong. And remember all the “Got Milk?” ads featuring celebrities and their kids wearing milk mustaches and usually flexing their arms? The message has become clear, and the words “milk,” “calcium,” and “bones” have become almost synonymously related. But what if you’re lactose intolerant, or simply don’t want to drink or eat that much dairy? How can you make sure to get enough calcium to have strong bones? Easy! There are plenty of foods high in calcium – some even more than milk!
1. Milk: 350mg of calcium per one cup serving of 2% milk. Before we dive into the non-dairy options, it’s good to have a starting line of how much calcium is actually in milk.
2. Salmon: 441mg of calcium in half a can of sockeye salmon. Additionally, salmon is an excellent source of fatty fish, rich in omega 3 fatty acids and protein.
3. Tofu: 434mg of calcium in one half-cup serving. Another vegetarian source of protein, tofu (made from soybeans) is extremely versatile.
4. Sardines: 351mg of calcium in one can (about 7 fish). Yep, sardines rank really #3 on the list of high-calcium foods! You’re also getting a ton of vitamin B12 (137% DV) and Vitamin D (63% DV), plus 22 grams of protein… all for under 200 calories!
5. Collard Greens: 266mg of calcium per 1-cup cooked. Collards are also high in iron (12% of your daily needs) vitamin A (300%!), which keeps your eyes healthy! Try sautéing them with olive oil and garlic.
6. Figs: 241mg of calcium per 1 cup serving of dried figs. A decadent dessert, figs are high in a few other important minerals: manganese (38% DV), potassium (29% DV), and magnesium (25% DV). Beware, though: that 1 cup packs in 371 calories!
7. White beans: 131mg in one cup of cooked beans. On top of supplying a hefty amount of calcium, beans are a great plant protein – you’ll get about 16 grams in that one serving! They are also naturally high in iron (28% DV) and fiber (18 grams).
8. Seaweed: 126mg of calcium in cup of raw seaweed. This vegetable of the sea probably doesn’t make it onto your dinner table on a regular basis, but maybe it should! Besides being a high-calcium food, seaweed has lots of iodine, which keeps your thyroid healthy.
9. Broccoli rabe: 100mg of calcium in a 2/3 cup serving. Slightly taller and skinner than “regular” broccoli, broccoli rabe is slightly more bitter tasting but tastes excellent sautéed in olive oil and garlic as a side dish!
10. Edamame: 98mg of calcium per 1 cup cooked. On top of calcium, you’ll get 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber from your serving of edamame!
11. Kale: 91mg of calcium in 1 cup (raw and chopped). Are you really surprised to see kale on the list? This superfood has so many vitamins and minerals it’s not even funny. In that same 1 cup, you get 206% of your vitamin A, 134% of your vitamin C, and almost 700% of your vitamin K!
12. Broccoli: 86mg of calcium in 2 cups raw. Even though it’s green, broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange – 2 cups gives you 270% of your daily requirement!
13. Bok choy: 74mg of calcium in 1 cup shredded. Perhaps unfamiliar to you, boy choy (also called Chinese cabbage) is frequently used in Asian cooking – it tastes great in stir-fry! – and like many leafy greens is rich in many other vitamins.
14. Oranges: 65mg of calcium in one large fruit. Drinking orange juice isn’t a bad source of calcium, either: 1 cup has 27mg. If dairy is off-limits for you, don’t despair of getting enough calcium! There are plenty of high-calcium foods that are completely dairy free.
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