By Assia Mortensen
Not everyone has “Got Milk?” as the ad campaign queries. That’s because not everyone wants milk. Whether you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, cutting down on fat, having trouble digesting dairy products or simply don’t like milk, there are still many milk-free ways to get adequate calcium in your diet.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) state that an average adult needs 1000 mg – 1300 mg of calcium daily. This number is slightly higher for lactating and pregnant women.
When you think of non-cow-related sources of calcium, what comes to mind? You may think of leafy greens or orange juice – but, have you checked out black eyed peas, sesame seeds, salmon or molasses?
Sufficient amounts of calcium are required to maintain healthy bones and teeth. The mineral also helps with vascular contraction and muscle function, secretion of hormones and enzymes, and the transmission of impulses throughout the nervous system.
Ten Foods Packed with Calcium
Orange Juice: Many fruits contain calcium, including oranges. Enjoy a glass of orange juice with your breakfast and boost your calcium stores. Calcium-enriched OJ will provide even more of your daily needs.
Almonds: Almonds contain almost 100 mg of calcium per ounce. Almonds also may be beneficial for those with high cholesterol.
Black Eyed Peas: Not only are black eyed peas a good source of calcium, these little beans also contain potassium, folate and other nutrients.
Blackstrap Molasses: Use molasses instead of syrup or sugar in some of your recipes to increase your calcium and iron intake. Molasses contains even more calcium than milk.
Broccoli: Steam broccoli for a high-calcium side dish or add it raw to salads for an extra boost.
Figs: Fresh figs are a good source of calcium; about four of them will give you more than 100 mg of calcium.
Kale: This super-green is high in calcium, other minerals and antioxidants. Add shredded kale to your salad if you need a calcium boost, or serve it cooked as a side dish. Beet greens and spinach are also rich sources.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is considered a heart-healthy way to start your day. But, oatmeal also provides a significant amount of calcium. Just one packet of instant oatmeal provides about 100 mg.
Salmon: We already know salmon is a nutritious fish, loaded with essential fatty acids, but this fish is also rich in calcium and other minerals.
Sesame seeds: Sprinkle them on cereal or salads; sesame seeds are not just high in calcium, but also provide fiber and unsaturated fat.
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Schwecherl, Laura; 18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium; Greatest.com; accessed July 31, 2012
Miller GD, et al; The Importance of Meeting Calcium Needs with Foods; National Institute Health; accessed July 31, 2012
Schocker, Laura; Surprisingly Calcium Rich Foods That Aren’t Milk; Huffington Post; accessed July 31, 2012
Almonds, broccoli, black eyed peas, blackstrap molasses, figs, kale, oatmeal, orange juice, salmon, sesame seeds