Calcium is one of the minerals found in many foods. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Our body uses calcium to build bones and teeth, send message to the nervous system, muscle contraction and to regulate heart beat. About 99% of the calcium is stored in our bones and teeth.
If the calcium intake is not adequate, our body starts to eat up the calcium from our bones to ensure normal cell function. This may lead to bone weakness and osteoporosis. Calcium deficiency leads to various health problems such as, anxiety, depression, irritability, difficulty in getting sleep and so on.
Our body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from food. Vitamin D and calcium rich foods are important to lead a healthy life.
Best vegetarian sources of calcium
Chickpeas are naturally rich in calcium. It also contains the other nutrients such as iron, phosphate, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K and zinc all these are essential for building and maintaining bone structure and strength. To get the maximum amount of calcium, you can take chickpeas along with your breakfast. You can make different recipes by using chickpea. Chickpea patties, Chickpea salads, sprouted chickpea, or raw sprouted chickpea hummus.
Every 100 grams of raw chickpea contains 105 mg of calcium which is 10% of RDA.
Consumption of soybeans may help to maintain bone density and strength. Soybean is useful to treat osteoporosis disease. Soybeans also rich in fibre, fat and protein.
“Studies have shown that diets high in animal protein tend to cause more calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine and feces. On the other hand, protein from soybeans does not have this effect”.
Soybean helps to lower cholesterol, managing weight and diabetes, prevents heart attack and stroke, and reduces the risk of insomnia and sleep disorders.
Every 100 grams of soybeans contain 277 mg of calcium which is 27% of RDA.
Collard green is part of the cruciferous family, and contains lot of nutrients but less calories. Consumption of collard greens decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and in turn increases energy and promotes healthy complexion and hair. It is full of fibre and water and thus makes digestion easy. You can add collard greens to sandwiches, salads or consume in boiled form, sautéed or add it to soups and casseroles.
1 cup of cooked collard greens contains 357 mg of calcium which is nearly 35% of RDA.
Sweet potatoes are rich in calcium, vitamins A, C, B6, manganese, copper, and pantothenic acid. Vitamin B6 helps to reduce homocysteine chemical in our body. This chemical is linked to degenerative diseases including heart attacks. Vitamin C, the powerful antioxidant helps in blood cell formation, digestion, bone and tooth formation. It also protects our body from toxins that may be linked to cancer. You can make sweet potato fries or it can be eaten boiled or baked.
Every 100 grams of baked sweet potatoes contains 38 mg of calcium which is 3% of RDA.
Blackstrap molasses is a by product of sugar cane refining process. It is diabetes friendly and is rich in calcium and magnesium. Both magnesium and calcium play an important role in maintaining strong bones and growth. It is also rich in iron and is hence good for anemic patients.
5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contain 500 mg of calcium which is 50% of RDA.
Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds. It supplies more vitamins and minerals including calcium and low in fat. Hemp milk is also rich in magnesium which is essential for normal function of muscles, nerves and for healthy bones. Good for children and toddlers.
A cup of vanilla hemp milk contains 1000 mg of calcium which is 100% of RDA.
Cheddar cheese is hard and off white in colour. Everyone likes to eat cheese on regular basis not only does it tastes good but good for health. Cheddar cheese contains high amount of protein and calcium which is great for your bone and overall health. Cheddar is better than all other dairy products.
Every 100 grams of cheddar cheese contains 721 mg of calcium which is 72% of RDA.
Tofu is made from soy milk. Tofu is fortified with calcium and vitamin D and also contains large amounts of protein. Tofu contains phytonutrients such as flavonoids, phenolic, phytosterols, and peptides. All these would lower the risk of heart diseases, lowers cholesterol, and decreases abdominal fat. Tofu can be cooked with lightly flavoured soups, fried or smoked.
Every 100 grams of tofu contains 350 mg of calcium which is 35%of RDA.
Some of the other calcium rich vegetarian foods are:
Rice milk, Dried figs, Kale, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Turnip greens, Raw fennel, Blackberries and fortified orange juice.