Calcium is an extremely important mineral required by our body. It is not only required for healthy bones and teeth but also for transmitting nerve impulses, contracting muscles, and clotting blood. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for adults. This shoots up to 1,200 mg for those over 50, and to 1,300 mg for children aged between 4 to 18 years. A major and direct source of calcium is dairy products. However, recently due to problems such as lactose intolerance, skin, and gut problems, or simply due to ethical issues involved in the manufacturing of dairy products, many people have given up dairy products. A major concern arises switching to a vegan or dairy-free lifestyle is that the body will not receive the stipulated amount of calcium.
- Green Vegetables in Your DietDark Leafy Greens such as Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens provide 84–142 mg per cooked 1/2 cup (70–95 grams, depending on the variety) — or 8–14% of the RDI. Adding greens to your smoothies, serving raw spinach in dinner can help in adding the required calcium to your diet.
- Plant-based Dairy Products Soy Foods such as Soy Milk, Tofu, Soybeans, Tempeh are some of the best alternatives to dairy products such as milk and cottage cheese. A half-cup of tofu will pack anywhere from 40 to 86 percent of your daily calcium needs. They are also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Soy milk also served as a great alternative to dairy milk and paired well in coffee, smoothie, milkshake, and tea.
- Nuts and Seeds as Superfoods Nuts and Seeds, especially Almonds and Brazil Nuts, provide about 10% RDI. Chia seeds also contain 18% of daily calcium intake (per ounce) and are considered a superfood. Eating nuts regularly can help to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and reduce risk factors for metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.