• Stephanie Dominguez

Top sources of calcium on a plant-based diet

Calcium is probably best known for its role as a bone component, though it is also vital for heart function, digestive health and the contraction/relaxation of muscles. Adequate calcium intake is also needed for the proper function of blood cells. Calcium deficiency can lead to cramping and muscle spasms as well as bone weakness and Osteoporosis.

The recommended daily intake for calcium is 1000mg, with an upper limit of 2500mg as this can cause constipation and impair iron and zinc absorption.

Good calcium sources are fortified dairy alternatives, calcium-set tofu, dried figs, dried apricots, nuts, leafy green vegs such as spinach, tahini, sesame seeds, red kidney beans, and tap water in hard water areas.

Phytates and oxalates in legumes and many other plant foods inhibit absorption. To combat this presoak or sprout your legumes to reduce this effect. Vitamin D also aids absorption.

Examples of Plant-based sources

Plant-based milk alternatives

A 200ml portion of each milk alternative provides…

Unsweetened almond milk (calcium fortified) = 240mg

Soya milk (calcium fortified) = 240mg

Oat milk (calcium fortified) = 240mg

Coconut milk (calcium fortified) = 240mg

Plant-based yoghurt alternatives A 125g portion of each yoghurt alternative provides…

Plain soya yoghurt (calcium fortified) = 150mg

Coconut yoghurt (calcium fortified) = 150mg

Green leafy vegetables

An 80g portion of each cooked green leafy veg provides…

Kale = 185mg

Spinach = 120mg

Purple sprouting broccoli = 88mg

Turnip greens/tops = 79g

Okra = 75mg

Mustard Greens = 64mg

Spring greens = 60mg

Pak choi = 58mg

Swiss Chard = 46mg

Broccoli = 35mg

Brussels sprouts = 21mg

Fresh fruit

An 80g portion of each fruit provides…

Kiwi = 26mg

Blackberries = 26mg

Rhubarb (cooked) = 26mg

Tangerines = 20mg

Oranges = 19mg

Pear = 6mg

Apple = 3mg

Dried fruit

A 30g serving of each dried fruit provides…

Figs = 75mg

Dates = 20mg

Raisins = 17mg

Beans and pulses

An 80g portion of each cooked bean or pulse provides…

Soya beans = 66mg

Chickpeas = 38mg

Aduki beans = 31mg

Kidney beans = 30mg

Broad beans = 28mg

Black-eyed beans = 17mg

Lentils = 17mg

Nuts and seeds

A 30g portion of nuts and seeds provides…

Sesame seeds = 201mg

Chia seeds = 189mg

Almonds, whole kernels = 81mg

Brazil nuts = 51mg

Sunflower seeds = 33mg

Walnuts = 28mg

Pumpkin seeds = 12mg

Pine nuts = 3mg

Bread products

An 80g portion (roughly two slices) of each bread provides…

Malted wheat bread = 167mg

Wheatgerm bread = 168mg

Naan bread = 150mg

Brown bread = 149mg

White bread = 124mg

Seeded bread = 120mg

White pitta bread = 110mg

Wholemeal bread = 85mg

Dried herbs

A 1 tsp serving of each dried herb provides…

Dried basil = 105mg

Dried marjoram = 100mg

Dried thyme = 95mg

Dried dill = 89mg

Celery seeds = 89mg

Dried mixed herbs = 83mg

Dried sage = 83mg

Dried oregano = 80mg

Other foods

A 100g serving of the following foods (on average, depending on the brand) provides…

Tofu (calcium fortified) = 350mg

Vegan sausages = 136mg

Tempeh = 120mg

Veggie burger = 100mg

Falafel = 80mg Source:https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-vegan-calcium-sources