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Getting Calcium from Plants

by jenny sansouci on September 13, 2011

Lots of people believe the only way to get calcium is from drinking milk and eating dairy products. The dairy industry does a great job at marketing! One of the first surprising things I learned at nutrition school was that the cultures in the world that consume little or no dairy products actually have the lowest rates of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Interesting, right?

Aside from that, tons of people have trouble digesting dairy products, have dairy allergies, asthma, skin problems, or avoid dairy for other health reasons. Luckily, it’s super easy to get calcium from plant foods!!

Here’s a nice list of plant foods and their calcium content compared to milk.

  • Cow’s Milk: 291 mg
  • Yogurt: 252 mg
  • Sesame Seeds: 1160 mg
  • Collard Greens: 266 mg
  • Kale: 249 mg
  • Almonds: 234 mg
  • Parsley: 203 mg
  • Chickpeas: 150 mg
  • Black beans: 102 mg
  • Great Northern Beans: 120 mg
  • White Beans: 161 mg
  • Navy Beans: 126 mg
  • Figs: 120 mg
  • Butternut squash: 84 mg
  • Sweet potato: 76 mg
  • Broccoli: 62 mg
  • Navel orange: 60 mg
  • Spinach: 93 mg
  • Brussels sprouts: 56 mg

*Info based on 100g portions. Obtained from US Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Resource Service: Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Sesame Seeds - Calcium Superheroes!

Bottom line – if you eat a varied diet rich in plant-based foods like beans and greens, you’re totally good to go! Eat up!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha Kay September 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I whole-heartedly agree! Our entire society has been brainwashed into thinking that milk “does a body good” but by the very same people who SELL milk! What gives?! I am horrified that our school districts are actually justifying the high sugar content in chocolate milk simply because they believe the sugar is a worthwhile cost of getting kids to drink milk! Blegh!


Lindsey B September 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I agree too Jenny. I have also learned that the stalks of greens like collards and kale contain the most calcium, so I slice them thin and throw them into my stir fry veg or steam them along with the leaves!


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