Calcium is synonymous with milk and dairy products, which leads many people to believe they’ll become calcium deficient if they switch to a vegan lifestyle. While milk certainly contains a lot of calcium, many plant-based foods also contain calcium, and some actually rival it. As long as you’re consuming a variety of nutritious whole foods, getting enough calcium as a vegan is a breeze.
To help illustrate this point, we put together a list of 25 vegan-friendly foods that naturally contain calcium. We also made a colorful companion chart for quick and easy reference. Once you have a look at the wide variety of foods that contain calcium, you’ll realize getting enough calcium as a vegan is basically as easy as eating a well-balanced meal.
25 Plant-Based Sources of Calcium
Note: All values are per 1 cup.
#1. Sesame Seeds – 1404 mg / 140% DV
It’s unrealistic for anyone to eat a whole cup of sesame seeds in one sitting, but they’re so packed with calcium, you could sprinkle just 1 tbsp over your meal and still get an extra 87.75 mg of calcium on your plate.
#2. Almonds – 378 mg / 38% DV
Almonds are another food densely rich in calcium. Snacking on just 1 oz of almonds adds a heaping 73.9 mg of calcium to your diet.
#3. Collards – 266 mg / 27% DV
Eating a cup of cooked collard greens is basically the calcium equivalent of drinking a glass of whole milk, except for one major difference: collards are bursting with vitamin K, which is crucial for controlling the binding of calcium in bones and maintaining good bone health. 1 cup of collards has 1045% DV for vitamin K; 1 cup of milk has just 1%.
#4. Garlic – 246 MG / 25% DV
Making fresh garlic a regular part of your meals is an easy way to add extra calcium to your diet. Add a couple tbsp of chopped garlic to your soups, stews, and stir-fries for an extra 50 mg of calcium
#5. Brazil Nuts – 213 mg / 21% DV
Munching on a few Brazil nuts throughout the day is a great way to get some extra calcium in your diet.
#6. Turnip Greens – 197 mg / 20% DV
When you get sick of collards, you can switch to turnip greens, which are also very high in calcium.
#7. Soybeans, Cooked – 175 mg / 18% DV
#8. Great Northern Beans, Boiled – 139 mg / 14%
As the name says, they’re great. I recently used them to make these white bean and nut fritters.
#9. Pistachio Nuts – 135 mg / 14%
The next time you’re curled up on the couch watching a movie, instead of snacking on microwaved popcorn, snack on pistachios for some extra calcium, as well as some extra protein and vitamin B-6.
#10. Navy Beans, Boiled – 126 mg / 13% DV
Navy beans are another legume high in calcium. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and magnesium.
#11. Walnuts – 115 mg / 11 %
Though not as rich in calcium as almonds, brazil nuts, or pistachios, walnuts still yield a relatively high amount per serving. One handful of chopped walnuts will yield about 28 mg of calcium.
#12. Mustard Greens – 104 mg / 10% DV
When you get sick of collards and turnip greens, mustard greens are still bringing a large dose of calcium to the table.
#13. Kale – 90.5 mg / 9% DV
Kale would be one mighty weak superfood if it didn’t host a respectable amount of calcium.
#14. Peanuts – 87.8 mg / 9% DV
If you’re looking for a calcium rich vegan meal that’s easy to make, you could have a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of fortified soy milk.
#15. Oats – 84.3 mg / 8% DV
If you want a healthier alternative to cereal and milk that packs just as much calcium, have a bowl of oatmeal with fortified soy milk, almonds, and raisins.
#16. Pinto Beans, Boiled – 78 mg / 8% DV
A great way to make a calcium-packed meal is to make a bean burrito stuffed with green veggies, garlic, and fresh guacamole in a whole grain tortilla wrap.
#17. Dark Rye Flour – 71 mg / 7% DV
If you want to make a loaf of bread that’s loaded with calcium, dark rye flour is the way to go. Mix a few tablespoons of sesame seeds into the dough, and you’ll really boost the calcium content.
#18. Figs – 68 mg / 7% DV
Whether you eat them dried, fresh, or as jam, figs are a great way to squeeze a little extra calcium into your diet.
#19. Dates – 57 mg / 6%
Combine dates with dried figs and mixed nuts for a high calcium trail mix.
#20. Grapefruit – 51 mg / 5%
Instead of a drinking a glass of cow’s milk in the morning, have a glass of grapefruit juice instead. Use it to wash down a bowl of oats topped with fresh fruit and nuts, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your daily calcium requirement.
#21. Quinoa, Cooked – 31.5 mg / 3% DV
Pair quinoa with steamed leafy greens for a calcium-rich lunch or dinner.
#22. Pineapple – 21 mg / 2% DV
Add chunks of pineapple to your smoothies, salads, and wraps for a little extra calcium and zest.
#23. Brown Rice, Cooked – 19.5 mg / 2% DV
Combining brown rice with legumes, like northern beans or navy beans, is an easy way to make a calcium rich meal that’s also a complete protein, and high in fiber.
#24. Spelt, Cooked – 19.4 / 2% DV
Spelt is an ancient species of wheat that has been cultivated since 5,000 BCE. Spelt can be boiled and eaten like rice, or used to make flour and bread. Boiled spelt with steamed greens makes a healthy meal that is full of calcium, as well as plenty of other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
#25. Avocado – 18 mg / 2% DV
Add a few big scoops of guacamole to your beans and rice for a little extra calcium and a lot of extra flavor.
Additional Info & Tips:
- While bananas do not contain much calcium – about 5.9 mg per medium sized banana – they help the body absorb calcium. Combine bananas with any of the calcium rich foods above for added benefits.
- Many other plant-based foods that contain calcium but did not make this list exist. In fact, most plant-based foods contain some amount of calcium. As long as you are regularly consuming a wide variety of fruits, nuts, grains, legumes, and vegetables – especially green leafy vegetables – you are likely consuming an adequate amount of calcium.
- Obtaining calcium from a wide variety of nutrient-rich plant-based sources is a good way to ensure you are also consuming the other essential vitamins and minerals needed to promote good bone health.
We hope you found this list of vegan calcium sources helpful. If you’d like to find other nutrition fact sheets like this one, check out more of VeganFoodLover.com.
Nutrition data sourced from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/