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Nutrition

Surprising Sources of (Non-Dairy) Calcium

Posted on February 24, 2016

A common myth about a dairy-free diet is that it cannot include the recommended daily amount of calcium. But you might be surprised to discover just how many sources of plant-based calcium there are. Here are some surprising sources of (non-dairy) calcium that are easy to find and enjoy:

Dried Figs

Sometimes referred to as nature’s candy, dried figs are a delicious and naturally sweet treat packed with antioxidants, fiber and even calcium. Enjoy them on their own as a mid-day snack, add them to a deliciously dairy-free cheese plate of cubed Daiya Blocks and your favorite crackers, or try adding them to your cereal. (We love this recipe for Walnut Fig Granola from Nourished by Nutrition.)

Turnip Greens

Next time you buy turnips, don’t throw away the greens! The leafy tops of this tasty root veggie are filled with calcium, antioxidants and folate, which has been known to help improve mood. Turnip greens are great sautéed, in a soup, or baked into a casserole. Try them in this simple recipe for Stir-Fried Garlic-y Turnip Greens from Saffron Streaks.

Blackstrap Molasses

Darker in color and richer in flavor than regular molasses, blackstrap molasses is also rich in calcium, iron and other vitamins. Its syrupy texture and sugary flavor makes it a fantastic sweetener, and you’ll often find it in baked goods – but it’s equally lovely in a smoothie, like this Green Iron Smoothie from Connoisseurus Veg (pictured.)

Seaweed

We love seaweed for its bold, savory flavor and great nutrition – it contains calcium, fiber and iodine, which promotes proper thyroid function. It’s delicious in soups and salads, and dried sheets of seaweed (nori) make ideal wraps for grains and veggies. As an example, check out these Vegetable Nori Wraps with Sunflower Butter Dipping Sauce from Gourmande in the Kitchen.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is actually one of nature’s top sources of calcium, boasting a whopping 348 milligrams per cup (cooked.) Because of its tart flavor, you’ll most often see it paired with sweeter ingredients to make desserts – like this beautiful Strawberry-Rhubarb Coconut Panna Cotta from Food By Mars.

Broccoli

While you’d need to eat a lot of broccoli (think 9 cups!) to get your recommended daily dose of calcium, it’s a good thing to add to your diet for multiple reasons. Along with some much-needed calcium, it’s got plenty of other necessary vitamins and minerals – and as a bonus: Your body actually absorbs calcium from broccoli better than it can from dairy milk. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy broccoli, try this super-flavorful and seasonal Broccoli in Strawberry Sauce from KiipFit.

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