Calcium Sources That Don't Require a Cow


Soy, Rice, and Nut Milk

Almond milk in glass, drinking straw, on wood
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Calcium is essential for healthy bones, but it does so much more. Calcium is required for normal muscle and nerve function and your blood to clot properly. A calcium deficiency is bad news because it can lead to osteoporosis or osteopenia. 

The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get from 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day based on age. 

Milk and other dairy products are well known for their calcium content — that's why they make up one whole food group — the United States Department of Agriculture says adults should get three cups of dairy products in their diet every day.

But not everyone can consume dairy products or just choose not to eat or drink dairy products. Does avoiding dairy put you at risk for not getting enough calcium? Maybe, but not if you indulge in non-dairy foods that are naturally high in calcium or fortified with this vital nutrient. Flip through the slideshow to see 15 of my favorite calcium-rich, cow-free foods.

Cow's milk alternatives are fortified with both calcium and vitamin D, so they provide a substantial amount of your daily calcium intake. These milk alternatives come in a variety of flavors including, plain, vanilla, and chocolate, plus there are similar 'coffee creamers' made with these products.


Calcium-Fortified Orange Juice

Orange Juice

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Orange juice is already an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and adding calcium makes it even more beneficial. One 8-ounce serving of calcium-fortified orange juice can supply you with up to 35 percent of your daily calcium need. Make sure the label states the juice has added calcium (bonus points if it also has vitamin D).




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Tofu is made from soy. It's often used in place of meat in stir fry or curry dishes. Tofu is an excellent source of calcium as long as it's prepared with calcium sulfate — half a cup can provide half of your daily calcium requirement. Be sure to look at the label for tofu processed with calcium — it's also an excellent source of protein and other essential minerals.




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Kale is one of those superfoods that seems to be high in just about every nutrient you can think of except for vitamin B-12. A cup of raw kale is enough to satisfy ten percent of your daily calcium requirement. It's also low in calories — about thirty or so. I think kale might be almost perfect.


Bok Choi

bok choi

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

All the dark green leafy vegetables are high in calcium and bok choi, (also known as Chinese Cabbage, or pak choi) is no exception. One cup of shredded cooked bok choi has about 150 milligrams of calcium — about 15 percent of your daily requirement.




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Almonds make a healthy snack or a nutritious addition to a salad or side dish. One ounce of almonds (about 23 of them) has just under 100 milligrams of calcium. They're also rich in magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E, plus they contain plenty of healthy fats.




Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Broccoli is another terrific plant source of calcium. One cup of chopped broccoli will provide about five percent of your daily need, plus it's rich in most other vitamins and minerals, plus fiber and antioxidants. Worth a second helping.


Collard Greens

Collard Greens

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Collard greens are very high in calcium. In fact, one cup of collard greens supplies bout one-fourth of your daily requirement. Collard greens are also high in several minerals, B vitamins, vitamin A and fiber.




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Rhubarb is a tangy source of calcium. It's also high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It's probably too tart to eat without a bit of sugar, but one cup of rhubarb pieces has about 10 percent of your daily calcium need.



Steamed spinach is high in calcium.
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Spinach is loaded with nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin C and fiber, and most other vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked spinach has about 25 percent of your daily calcium requirement. Raw spinach is good too, but cooking the spinach really concentrates the nutrients.


Navy Beans

Navy beans

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Navy beans are an excellent source of non-dairy calcium. One cup of cooked navy beans has 125 milligrams for close to 15 percent of your daily requirement. They're also high in fiber and manganese. 


Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is high in calcium.
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Swiss chard is high in calcium. One cup of Swiss chard will cover 10 percent of your daily calcium requirement. Chard is also high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium and several minerals.


Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed tomatoes are high in calcium.
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Stewed tomatoes are an excellent source of calcium. Fresh tomatoes have some calcium as well, but the cooking process really concentrated the minerals and one cup supplies about 10 percent of your daily calcium requirement. They're also high in potassium and iron, plus they're rich in vitamins A and C.


Pinto Beans

Pinto beans

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Legumes, in general, are good calcium sources, and one cup of pinto beans supplies you with about eight percent of your daily calcium requirement. They're also high in manganese and fiber, plus a little vitamin C. Black beans and kidney beans are also good sources — one cup of either bean has about five percent of a day's calcium need.


Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Brazil nuts are best known as an important source of selenium, but they're also an excellent source of calcium. Six Brazil nuts have about 50 milligrams and supply about five percent of your daily need. They're also high in magnesium and healthy fats.

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