At Urban Athlete in Mt. Airy, we provide help in all areas that help clients get fitter, including nutritional couching and meal planning. Many clients are concerned about getting adequate calcium, especially if they’re vegan or lactose intolerant, and have asked for help finding non-dairy foods containing it. Calcium is important for bone density and healthy teeth. It also plays a big role in the nervous system, muscle tissue and allowing them to contract, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The most plentiful source of calcium is found in milk and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese, when you can’t consume these products, you need to get calcium from elsewhere.
Soybeans provide a few ways to get adequate calcium.
Whether you’re choosing soy milk, tofu or other soy products, you’ll increase the calcium in your diet. However, in most cases, it comes from fortifying the calcium content. Traditional soy milk contains about 4% the daily requirement of 1000 mg, while fortified milk has 23%. Tofu, on the other hand, depends on how it’s made. Firm tofu is made with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride, so a half cup provides about 19% of the requirement, which is 253 mg of calcium. If it’s made with just calcium sulfate, it offers approximately 66.2%–861 mg. You can even increase calcium by eating edamame, which has 98 mg of calcium per cup—approximate 7.5% of the daily requirement.
Some nuts and seeds are high in calcium.
Cha-cha-cha-chia seeds aren’t just for sprouting to look like hair on clay figures, they’re also high in calcium. Two tablespoons have 179 mg. You can make chia pudding, add them to salads or put them in smoothies or overnight oatmeal. Almonds are another nut that can boost your calcium intake. It has 385 mg per cup. A cup of sunflower seeds provides 109 mg. A cup of sesame seeds contains 88 mg. Make a trail mix and add chopped dried figs, which contains 241 mg per cup.
There are other foods that have higher calcium contents.
White beans are particularly healthy and also contain 161 mg of calcium. A cup of broccoli rabe contains 100 mg, while it’s less bitter cousin, a cup of broccoli contains 87 mg. Kale has 180 mg. Even though a cup of cooked spinach is far higher, at 244.8 mg per cup, only 24% is bioavailable—available for absorption by the body. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, C, potassium and have 68 mg of calcium.
- Adults 50 and under need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. When a woman reaches 50 or a man reaches 70, the RDA increases to 1200 mg for both.
- You need vitamin D for calcium absorption. Lack of vitamin D, no matter how much calcium you eat, may lead to insufficient calcium. Safe sunning, foods high in vitamin D like egg yolks, liver and fortified foods provide vitamin D.
- A large orange contains 74 mg of calcium and a cup of orange juice has 27 mg. If the orange juice is fortified, it may offer more calcium or vitamin D for better absorption.
- If you’re concerned with achieving a diet filled with all the nutrients you need, we can help. At Urban Athlete, we provide nutritional counseling.
For more information, contact us today at Urban Athlete