Raising Your Calcium Levels Without Dairy: How to Make It Happen

What foods contain a good dose of calcium? There are many possibilities, even if you do not consume dairy products.

Milk is a good source of calcium: True or false? As far as simple questions go, that’s a no-brainer. But what if you follow a dairy-free diet? Or if you just don’t like milk? Can you still get your daily dose of calcium?

There is calcium in many foods

Calcium is present in many foods that do not contain milk, cheese or yogurt, although they are all premium sources of calcium. But before we dive into high-calcium alternatives, here’s a little reminder of why maintaining healthy calcium levels is so essential.

The importance of calcium for good health

bone health

99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth. Until you reach adulthood, your body is constantly rebuilding and strengthening your bones. This requires a regular supply of calcium.

heart function

Calcium literally keeps the heart muscle pumping.

Nerve transmission

Calcium triggers cellular signals that cause your muscles to contract and get you moving.

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How much calcium do you need?

To keep all of these systems in tip-top shape, you need a calcium-rich diet. The most abundant mineral in your body. The amount of calcium you need depends on your age. Women under 50 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. Men under 71 also need 1000 mg per day. Women over 50 (and men over 71) need more. Increase your intake to 1,200 mg per day.

Older people need more calcium to protect their bone health and prevent osteoporosis. A common bone disease that can develop with age. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones, reduced mobility and expensive surgeries.

Tips for reading the label

If the label says the product provides, say, 30% of your daily calcium needs, you can add a zero to find out the exact amount in milligrams. In this case, you will get 300 mg.

What foods contain the most calcium

If you avoid dairy, make a habit of incorporating some of these other calcium-rich foods into your diet:

canned sardines

Check the label to make sure they are canned in oil, including the bone.

Enriched soy, almond and rice milk

Tofu made with calcium sulfate

Canned pink salmon with bones

The green vegetables

Turnip greens, collard greens, and kale are all high in calcium.


Garbanzo, kidney beans, navy beans, and even canned beans provide calcium. Boiled green soybeans are another good option.

The shrimp

Vegetables like cooked broccoli, Chinese cabbage, edamame, and squash

Papaya, dried figs and oranges.

Remember that some of us are more at risk of calcium deficiency than others. Research has shown that teenage girls, especially athletes, as well as women, those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products, and the elderly should monitor their calcium levels more closely.

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Although bone health is central to any discussion of calcium, nearly every cell in your body needs calcium to thrive. So, no excuses if you don’t consume dairy products, there are plenty of other options that will help you keep your calcium levels up.

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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