Keep your bones healthy and strong with these plant-based foods.

By Lauren Wicks
January 24, 2019
Adobe: Christine Han Photography/Stocksy

When most of us think about the best calcium sources, milk usually is top-of-mind. While dairy products are excellent for getting strong bones and teeth, there are also plenty of plant-based sources that should be a part of your vegan diet (if they aren’t already), as all of them are packed with protein, vitamin, and fiber.

Getting the recommended 1000 mg per day for those under 50, and 1200 for those older than 50, can be tough on a vegan diet. However, regularly eating these seven foods will keep you from worrying about getting enough calcium.

Soy

Greg Dupree

While the health benefits of soy are often under debate, Jamie Vespa, MS RD, says soy is chock-full of nutrients, lowers cholesterol, and improves bone health. A half-cup of tofu will pack anywhere from 40 to 86 percent of your daily calcium needs (depending on how you prep it), and a cup of edamame packs about 10 percent.

View Recipe: Sheet Pan Curried Tofu and Vegetables

Legumes

Photo: Jen Causey

Pinto, white, and black beans are especially great vegan sources of calcium, touting 21, 13, and 29 percent of your daily recommendation, respectively. Beans are extremely versatile, and are used in all types of cuisine for good reason: they’re excellent sources of fiber, protein and iron, and are also one of the cheapest finds in the grocery store!

View Recipe: Smoky Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Dark, Leafy Greens

Greg DuPree

It’s no secret that dark leafy greens, such as kale, and spinach, are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Two cups of kale pack 20 percent of your daily calcium needs at a meager 66 calories. Eating more leafy greens is as simple as adding kale to a smoothie, serving your dinner on a bed of spinach, or wilting a handful of collards into your grain bowl.

View Recipe: Chickpea and Kale Curry

Having a hard time getting all the nutrients you need out of a vegan diet?

Chia Seeds

Photo: Teresa Sabga

Chia seeds are widely considered a “superfood,” and for good reason: these little seeds pack a huge nutrient punch. One ounce has 11 grams of fiber, 18 percent of your daily calcium recommendation, and plenty of omega-3s. Topping your smoothies, salads, or grain bowls with just a tablespoon of these babies will seriously boost your calcium intake.

View Recipe: Cherry Chia Pudding

Tortillas

Photo: Jennifer Causey

We were pleasantly surprised to find just one whole-grain tortilla can pack 10 percent of your daily calcium needs. Choosing whole-wheat varieties is best, as they have more fiber, protein, and vitamins than ones made with white flour.

View Recipe: “Huevos” Soy-Cheros

Oranges

Greg DuPree

One cup of orange or tangerine sections can help boost your calcium intake up 10 percent. While many store-bought orange juices are fortified with the mineral, we think you should probably just snack on the real thing. Besides Vitamin C, oranges are also packed with fiber and potassium, which aid in muscle recovery.

View Recipe: Orange, Tofu, and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

Almonds

Elizabeth Laseter

Almonds are known for being a great source of plant protein and healthy fat, but they also have a pretty good amount of calcium. Some almond milk varieties are calcium-fortified, but snacking on an ounce of nuts a day can boost your calcium intake by almost 10 percent.

View Recipe: Basic Almond Butter


 

Nutrition Facts Source: USDA

 

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