Got Almond Milk? Ways to get your plant-based calcium fix

by Yoli Ouiya

I don’t do animal dairy…I don’t drink it, eat it, or intentionally smell it. I’m just not that into it. 🙂 Alas though, for centuries, people have survived without it as a primary source of calcium. We have shuffled our way into a land of processed foods and now our finding out ways back into the wild, about time yes? Part of our wilderness journey is to make sure we are getting the most our of the foods we consume, especially making sure to get all of vitamins and minerals.

Why is Calcium important?
Calcium insures that we have strong bones and teeth. Having enough calcium insures the proper function and control over our muscles and nerves, as well as blood pressure and clotting. Proper monitoring of our calcium intake is an important aspect of preventing osteoporosis.

Today, we will look at a few of the many plant-based options for getting our calcium fix. As a point of reference, 1 cup of milk usually contains about 300 mg of Calcium.

1: Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are black. tiny seeds that pack a powerful, nutritional punch. They resemble poppy seeds aesthetically, but function in a completely different way. One ounce of chia seeds (which is about 2 tablespoons) provides just as much calcium as a cup of milk! Some other aspects of chia:
* They contain more than 50% of omega- 3 and 6 fatty acids.
* Excellent source of protein (rich in B1 and B3)
* Considerable and necessary amounts Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, iron, zinc

How to Use the Chia Seeds
When combined with a liquid, Chia Seeds become gelatinous so they can be used in place of flax seed in vegan baking recipes (and they don’t need to be ground). The simplest way of incorporating chia seeds is adding them to foods you already consume: your morning smoothie, oatmeal, coconut milk yogurt, etc or simply adding it to a cup of water, letting it sit for 5 minutes, and drinking it! I have even topped salads with chia seeds for a little crunch or added it to trail mixes.

2: Blackstrap Molasses

Only two teaspoons of molasses will meet almost 12% of your daily calcium needs. Those two teaspoons also provide 13% of daily iron, 14% of daily copper, 18% of daily manganese, almost 10% of copper. Overall, Blackstrap molasses also is rich in manganese, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

How to Use Blackstrap Molasses
The simplest way of incorporating blackstrap molasses is the same as I advised for the chia seeds; adding them to foods you already consume. A few tablespoons go a long way in a morning oatmeal or even adding to your herbal coffee/tea. Or take it like a champion straight!

3: Leafy Green Vegetables

Arugula, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Chicory, Kale, and Spinach are some of the greens that pack a fighting punch in calcium. Most of the greens listed have all or most of the following nutrients in varying amounts: Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid, potassium, fiber, iron.

How to Use Leafy Green Vegetables
All of the greens listed and others are best eaten raw or lighty steames/sauteed to maintain most nutrients. Add some spinach and kale to your smoothie, lightly sautee some swiss chard with olive oil and garlic, make a lovely arugula and spinach salad with hints of dandelion greens. There are so many ways to incorporate several servings of greens into your daily consumption; Just find what works for you.

4: Sesame Seeds

A quarter up of sesame seeds provides 35% of daily calcium needs! These seeds are also super high in cooper (1/4 cup = 74.0% of daily needed), magnesium (32 % of daily needed) , trytophan (an essential amino acid, meaning that the body can’t manufacture it :: 38), manganese (44%), iron (29%) phoshoprus, zinc, vit B1 and fiber.

How to Use Sesame Seeds
The most popular use of sesame seeds in used on the form of tahini thus hummus. You can also make your own sesame seed milk by blending a 1:2 ratio. So for every 1 cup of sesame seeds, blend with 2 cups water and strain. Will store for about a week in an airtight and refrigerated container.

5. Other sources of calcium include:

Black Beans :: 1 cup provides 5% of daily calcium needed

Dried Figs :: 1 cup provide 32% of daily calcium needed (1 fresh large fig provides 2%)

Almonds :: 1 cup provides 25% of daily calcium needed

and fortified foods such as nut and grain milks, cereals, breads, etc.


YGL staff