Before we start the list, there's a few things I would like to make clear:
We need about 1000 mg of calcium per day for healthy and strong bones, everyone does, not only vegans. As we age we need more: An intake of a minimum of 1200 mg of calcium is recommended for women over 51 years and for men over 70 years.
There is a trap; if you do not know of it, you might be eating loads of calcium but it will *not* be absorbed in your body, here goes: Oxalic acid, which is found in spinach, rhubarb, chard, and beet greens binds with the calcium in those foods and reduces its absorption. These foods should not be considered good sources of calcium. Calcium in other green vegetables is well absorbed. Dietary fiber has little effect on calcium absorption though.
Protein’s effect on calcium needs and bones remains uncertain.
To maintain strong and healthy bones it is recommended you do regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking. You will also need to keep an eye on your sodium intake because it increases the amount of calcium lost in urine (about 20 mg of calcium are lost with each gram of sodium in the diet) and higher dietary sodium is associated with lower bone density.
How much sodium do we need? Well, the answer is “we do not know exactly.” Look at these figures:
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.
- American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.
- American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.
So… there is definitely a consensus among these organizations that we should aim for less than 1500 mg of sodium per day, and definitely not more than 2300 mg.
1500 mg of sodium equals about 3/4 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day, while 2300 mg equals about one teaspoon and 6 grams of salt per day.
And you will need Vitamin D together with calcium for best absorption; the best source is the sun and you get that with a nice walk.
Without further ado let's go to the list: (1 cup = 2.3 dl.)
1. Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)
2. Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)
3. Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
4. Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)
5. Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)
6. Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200-300 mg)
7. Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)
8. Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)
9. Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)
10. Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)
11. Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)
12. Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)
13. Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)
14. Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)
15. Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)
16. Black Currants (1 cup contains 62 mg)
17. Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)
18. Dried apricots (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
19. Figs (1/2 cup contains 120 mg)
20. Dates (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
21. Artichoke (1 medium artichoke contains 55 mg)
22. Roasted sesame seeds (1 oz. contains 35 mg)
23. Adzuki beans (1 cup contains 65 mg)
24. Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)
25. Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.
- Photo Credit: Mike