Integrative Nutrition Blog

3 Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

July 15, 2015

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Does dairy work for you? Why or why not?

Dairy is awesome for some people. For others, it causes digestive stress, skin issues, and more. It all depends on bio-individuality, constitution, and condition. 

We’ve all heard about the importance of eating enough calcium to build strong bones, and it’s especially important for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis. Calcium is crucial in supporting healthy aging, menopause, strength and focus. 

A lot of people, especially the media, say that milk is a crucial source of calcium. 

But what if you don’t eat dairy? And is dairy really best for bone health anyway? There’s a lot of controversy over whether milk is really the best source of calcium, and if dairy is even a necessary part of a healthy diet. Some people even say that milk leaches calcium from bones. 

Whether or not you can handle dairy will depend on your individual microbiome – gut bacteria – and countless other factors. The truth is that saying it’s good for everyone is a marketing tactic – there are lots of other ways to get calcium. The only way to really find out if dairy works for you is to experiment with eating it and see how it affects you. 

If you can’t handle dairy, don’t worry, you can get calcium from these excellent sources: 

1. Kale, broccoli, and spinach. These green vegetables contain high levels of calcium. It’s important to always eat them cooked, as they contain oxalates that actually interfere with calcium absorption. IIN visiting teacher Nina Planck agrees.

2. Seaweed is an excellent source of calcium, and the type with the highest level is hijiki, the black seaweed you can get at most Japanese restaurants. Hijiki has 1400 mg of calcium per 100 grams, whereas milk only has 113 mg per 100 grams. How crazy is that?

3. Tahini. A lot of people have never heard of tahini, but it’s actually an awesome substitute for peanut butter, especially if you’re allergic, and it can also be the main ingredient in an awesome salad dressing. Tahini naturally contains calcium and tastes amazing. Try it today. 

The biggest secret key to having adequate levels of calcium in your body is making sure you’re consuming enough high-quality fat, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter, since fat is critical to calcium absorption. 

Try cooking your green vegetables in one of these fats to make sure you absorb all the great calcium in these non-dairy sources. 

Did you think that milk was the only source of calcium before reading this article? Or did you already know about some of these? If so, what’s your favorite form of non-dairy calcium? 

What if the world knew about this too? Wouldn't it be a better place? Use the social tools to spread the word!  

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