Most calcium is stored in our bones and teeth, reinforcing their strength while also acting as a safety deposit for the body to draw calcium from to support our muscles, cardiovascular system, and message-carrying nerves.
At any stage of life, getting enough calcium is vital for our health, and dairy products are the main source used for getting our daily dose. But there are increasing reasons for people making the switch to non-dairy alternatives such as lactose intolerance, dietary changes, and lifestyle and ethical choices.
So, how do you get enough calcium without consuming dairy?
Fish high in omega 3 fats with their bones in place are great (and tasty) little pocket rockets of calcium. Canned fish that have been processed to include the bones (they’ve been softened, so don’t worry!) such as sardines and salmon are a nifty way of getting an impressive amount of calcium into your body and are a great snack choice with some biscuits and fresh ingredients like tomatoes and cucumber.
If you’re not a fan of a fishy feast, there are plenty of alternatives, so read on!
When you simply can’t go without milk-like products, there are countless choices on the market, but soy runs a close second to dairy for its higher calcium content.
Soy milks are often fortified with added calcium and vitamins D and B-12 to ensure you’re getting a good dose of your daily essential vitamins and minerals. Compared to its other non-dairy counterparts such as almond and rice milks, soy runs the closest to providing the nutritional value found in cow’s milk and has less fat and calories!
Green leafy vegetables
As well as being rich in vitamins K, C, E, and A, these little leafy legends are great sources of absorbable calcium. More specifically, the likes of broccoli, spinach, kale, and bok choy – your typical ‘dark leaf’ vegetables – are the winners of the bunch when it comes to providing the highest amount of calcium per serve compared to other vegetables.
A versatile and delicious group of foods, they make the perfect addition to your daily diet.
Calcium-fortified cereals and breads
Many breakfast cereals and bread varieties offer added fortified calcium with each serve. Some contain up to a quarter of your daily calcium requirements in one serve, making them a handy way to get your fill without having to prepare and cook a whole meal.
Be mindful to always check the nutritional information on these foods to ensure they’re calcium-fortified and don’t contain huge amounts of added sugars and sodium disguised as flavour!