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8 Foods Vegans Can Eat For More Calcium

It's easy to get more calcium into your diet—and it doesn't involve drinking more milk. These vegan-friendly foods are good sources of calcium.

Get plenty of calcium with these foods

It can be challenging for vegans to get enough calcium. Most of us associate this bone- and tooth-strengthening nutrient with milk, cheese, and yogurt. But if you don’t eat dairy products, there are other healthy ways to get your needs met. Leafy green vegetables plus seeds and nuts can help.

Calcium also keeps blood vessels, muscles, and nerves functioning properly. So be sure to know the signs if your body isn’t getting enough of this important nutrient.

Bowl of sesame seedsHandmadePictures/Shutterstock

Sesame seeds

Calcium content: 277 mg, 28% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce, whole sesame seeds about 160 calories
Try it: The calcium content varies drastically depending on if the seeds are whole or dried and hulled. So make sure to check the packaging. Any variety is easy to work into many dishes. Sprinkle them into salads, beans, or vegetables for crunch. Here’s a crunchy slaw recipe with a tangy dressing, almonds and toasted sesame seeds.

Bowl of bok choyDream79/Shutterstock

Bok choy

Calcium content: 158 mg, 16% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, boiled without salt about 20 calories
Try it: This Chinese cabbage provides a surprising amount of calcium per serving—it’s also a food that helps reduce inflammation as well. You’ll want to try this bok choy salad recipe.

Bowl of tahini next to overturned cup of sesame seedsMatka Wariatka/Shutterstock

Tahini

Calcium content: 112 mg, 12% Daily Value
Serving: 2 tablespoons, about 160 calories
Try it: Tahini is sesame paste or sauce made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. It’s created similarly to the way peanut butter is made from peanuts. It’s often an ingredient in hummus. Try using tahini in salad dressings, with grilled or roasted vegetables, with noodles, and even in desserts. Here’s a noodle salad made with tahini and two kinds of peas.

Kale in a wooden bowlBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Kale

Calcium content: 53 mg, 5% Daily Value; 177 mg, 17% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, raw about 7 calories; 1 cup, boiled without salt
Try it: We know—you probably don’t think of kale as one of the foods with calcium you should add to your diet, but it packs a nutritional punch. 

Ceramic container of almondskuvona/Shutterstock

Almonds

Calcium content: 75 mg, 8% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce (23 almonds), about 160 calories
Try it: Let’s just say it—almonds should be your best friend. Not only are they rich in calcium, but, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, just a handful of almonds a day may help lower cholesterol, too. 

Plate of broccoliBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Broccoli

Calcium content: 62 mg, 6% Daily Value; 34 mg
Serving: 1 cup, boiled without salt, about 55 calories; 1 cup raw broccoli florets, 20 calories
Try it: Broccoli isn’t just calcium-rich—it’s a nutritional powerhouse loaded with benefits. Seriously, it’s one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Here’s a simple way to serve it, marinated in dill

Bowl of spinach leavesNataliya Arzamasova/Shutterstock

Spinach

Calcium content: 60 mg, 6% Daily Value
Serving: 2 cups, raw, about 14 calories
Try it: The benefits of spinach are numerous—not only is it one of the foods with calcium you should eat to improve bone health, but it also has been shown to lower blood pressure and may ward off hardening of the arteries. Here’s how to sneak more spinach into your day.

Watercress on wooden chopping boardYossi James/Shutterstock

Watercress

Calcium content: 40 mg, 4% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, raw, about 4 calories
Try it: Watercress might not be on your radar the way kale is, but it should be—it’s one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat. 

Sources
  • USDA: "USDA Food Composition Databases."
  • Arthritis Foundation: "Best Vegetables for Arthritis."
  • Journal of Nutrition: "Inclusion of Almonds in a Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Improves Plasma HDL Subspecies and Cholesterol Efflux to Serum in Normal-Weight Individuals with Elevated LDL Cholesterol.
  • Nitric Oxide: "Effects of a Nitrate-Rich Meal on Arterial Stiffness and Blood Pressure in Healthy Volunteers."
  • European Journal of Nutrition: "Cheese Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies."
  • The Permanente Journal: "Plant-Based Diets: A Physician’s Guide"
Medically reviewed by Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, on May 01, 2020