Why plants are healthier than milk for bone health. 20 plant sources of calcium

The most popular question of those who eat plant foods concerns protein – is it possible, by giving up food of animal origin, to satisfy the body’s need for protein? In other words, are plant-based sources of calcium effective? I published the answer to it a few months ago.

The second most popular question is about calcium. “You don’t drink milk and don’t eat dairy products – but what about calcium, because there is nowhere else to take it?” This is another myth, and, as it turned out, has long been successfully dispelled by scientists. Surprisingly, milk has the opposite effect – it destroys bones and increases the risk of serious injury. But where to get this essential mineral, if not drink milk and not consume other products based on it? The answer is simple – plant foods with a high calcium content will come to the rescue.

The fact is that not only the amount of calcium consumed is very important for bone health, but also how much calcium due to various reasons (dietary habits, lifestyle, health status in principle) is washed out of the body. It is within our power to take these factors under control and minimize the loss of this macronutrient.

Almost all calcium in the body is concentrated in the bones. A small amount is found in the blood and is responsible for such important functions as muscle contraction, maintaining the heartbeat and transmitting nerve impulses.

We regularly lose calcium from the blood through urine, sweat, and feces. The body can compensate for this loss with a portion of calcium from the bones and borrow from food. It is here that people who have decided to make a choice in favor of vegetarianism are faced with the question – which plant foods contain calcium.


Bones are constantly being destroyed and rebuilt. In people under the age of about 30, bones are regenerated more intensively than they are destroyed. After 30 years, the situation is gradually changing: they begin to deteriorate faster than recover. Losing too much calcium from bones can lead to significant bone weakening and even the development of osteoporosis.

A number of factors affect the loss of calcium by the body:

  1. Diets high in protein increase the excretion of calcium from the body in the urine. Protein from animal products accelerates calcium excretion more than protein from plant foods. This may be one of the reasons why vegetarians (based on calcium-rich plants) tend to have stronger bones than meat eaters.
  2. Diets or a regular diet high in sodium (hard and soft cheeses; smoked meats; canned fish, meat and vegetables if salt is used as a preservative; seafood cooked with added salt; fried nuts; instant soups; bouillon cubes; chips) increase excretion calcium in the urine.
  3. Caffeine, which is mostly found in tea and coffee, and to a lesser extent in chocolate and some pain relievers, accelerates the excretion of calcium in the urine. In addition, according to new foreign studies, women who drink several cups of coffee a day (3-4) during menopause and in old age risk to notice an increase in bone fragility, and “get to know better” osteoporosis.
  4. 4. Smoking leads to large losses of calcium. This is mainly due to a decrease in the level of female sex hormones in the body – estrogens. Their lack is not the best way for the ability of bone tissue to absorb calcium.

A number of factors contributing to the restoration of the skeletal system:

  1. Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining bone health.
  2. Exposure to sunlight promotes the production of the hormone vitamin D in the body, which is essential for building bones.
  3. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and herbs helps preserve calcium in the bones. Calcium from plant sources, especially green vegetables and legumes, is essential for building bones.

Calcium in plant foods is by no means a utopia, as it might seem to people who believe that the only significant source of this macronutrient is dairy products. Finding calcium in plants is not that difficult.

And besides, often, in plant products, the calcium content is not only not lower than in the diet of animal origin, but also higher. They are rich in soybeans, bok choy, broccoli, kale, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, sesame seeds, nut milk, broccoli, okra, almonds, beans, and many other foods. Study this detailed list and you will know the answer to the question of which plants contain calcium:

  1. Browncol (kale) (1 cup * contains 180 milligrams of calcium)

    Scientists have shown that calcium “native” from browncol is absorbed much better than calcium “dairy origin”.

  2. Collard greens (1 cup – over 350 mg)

    You might be surprised to learn that there is more calcium in a cup of kale than in a cup of milk!

  3. Turnip Greens (1 cup – 250 mg)

    Often, turnip dishes (in particular, turnip greens) are recommended by experts for people with osteoporosis and osteochondrosis to be the main ones in their diet. The reason for this is a solid indicator of the level of calcium in the composition.

  4. Tahini (2 tablespoons – 130 mg)

    Another bonus of the greasy sesame seed paste is the ease of incorporation into the diet. Tahini is just enough to spread on toast, and the calcium is in your pocket.

  5. Hemp milk (1 cup – 460 mg)

    Protein, calcium, 9 essential amino acids – hemp milk can boast of this.

  6. Almond oil (2 tablespoons – 85 mg)

    In principle, it is not even so important what will appear in your diet – nuts, milk or almond oil. It is important that in addition to calcium, this product contains a lot of magnesium and fiber.

  7. Soy (1 cup – 175 mg)

    Soy is both a vegetable protein and a plant that is rich in calcium. Keep this in mind when deciding what to substitute for meat and dairy products.

  8. Broccoli (1 cup – 95 mg)

    In addition to a solid bonus in the idea of ​​calcium, broccoli boasts an equally significant indicator of vitamin C in its composition (cabbage has twice as much of it than oranges).

  9. Raw fennel (1 medium tuber – 115 mg)

    Fennel practically has no contraindications (except for individual intolerance), moreover, it contains a solid portion of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9).

  10. Blackberries (1 cup – 40 mg)

    Women should add blackberries to their diet not only because of the tandem of calcium and magnesium, but also because this berry relieves the symptoms of PMS and menopause.

  11. Blackcurrant (1 cup – 62 mg)

    Black currant is called the champion among berries in terms of vitamin C.

  12. Oranges (1 orange – 50-60 mg)

    Osteoporosis has a second name – bone scurvy. Oranges, which are rich not only in vitamin C, but also in calcium, are an excellent prevention against joint diseases.

  13. Dried apricots (1/2 cup – 35 mg)

    Dried apricots are considered a useful product, since they contain much more calcium salts than sodium.

  14. Figs (1/2 cup – 120 mg)

    Do not like to eat as a dessert for tea, add to salad with herbs, or oatmeal. Just don’t ignore it, because half a handful of figs contains more calcium than a glass of milk.

  15. Dates (1/2 cup – 35 mg)

    If you are looking for not only plant-based foods high in calcium, but also foods that would satisfy your hunger perfectly at the same time, look at dates.

  16. Artichoke (1 medium artichoke – 55 mg)

    Mineralization of bone tissue and its strengthening is what the artichoke has been famous for since the days of Ancient Egypt.

  17. Adzuki beans (1 cup – 65 mg)

    Adzuki beans are called a Japanese superfood because their fruits contain not only calcium, which is precious for the bones, but are also an excellent source of vegetable protein.

  18. Common beans (1 cup – 125 mg)

    100g of white beans contains almost 20% of the daily value of calcium. But it is especially valuable that these legumes also contain magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are at the forefront of our bone health.

  19. Amaranth (1 cup – 275 mg)

    To the question “Which plants have a lot of calcium”, in most cases, one of the first you hear is amaranth. However, amaranth is one of the record holders in terms of not only calcium content. Its leaves contain a huge amount of vitamins and minerals.

  20. Carrots (200 gr – 60 mg)

    Experts assure that, in contrast to milk, calcium from carrots is absorbed practically by mouth.

The body’s daily requirement for calcium is 1000 milligrams.


Food Tracker

The Vegetarian Resource Group

The Physicians Committee

* cup is a unit of measurement equal to 250 milliliters


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