There is a common misconception that the only good source of calcium is dairy. For those who either don't like milk or are lactose intolerant or are switching to a plant-based diet, here's some good news!
Calcium is a mineral that makes around 2% of your total body weight.
Most of this is found in the skeleton, i.e. bones and teeth. Besides this role, Calcium is also key for heart health. There is a common misconception that the only good source of calcium is dairy. For those who either don’t like milk or are lactose intolerant or are switching to a plant-based diet, here’s some good news!
I have curated a list of 20 non-dairy foods that can help you meet your body’s daily calcium requirement. So if you have been struggling with Calcium intake, just keep this list handy, and you should be sorted!
Amaranth Seeds (Rajgira, Hindi)
Amaranth Leaves (Laal Bhaji, Hindi)
Whole Bengal Gram (Chana or Chole, Hindi)
Kidney Beans (Rajma, Hindi)
Horse Gram (Kulith, Hindi/Marathi)
Whole Red Gram (Arhar, Hindi)
Fenugreek Leaves (Methi, Hindi)
Knol Khol (Gath Gobhi, Hindi)
Mustard Leaves (Sarson Saag, Hindi)
Radish Leaves (Muli Saag, Hindi)
Dried Figs (Anjeer, Hindi)
Phalsa (Phalsa, Hindi)
Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta, Hindi)
Sesame Seeds (Til, Hindi)
Moth Beans (Moth, Hindi)
Increasing Calcium Absorption
Now, the second challenge most people usually face is one that they may not be aware of altogether. Absorption of the consumed calcium occurs in the gut. You need to create a good environment for this absorption to occur to the best of your body’s capability. Here’s how you can improve calcium absorption to get maximum benefits:
Vitamin D Levels: Calcium is hugely impacted by Vitamin D levels. In case you have a deficiency, meet a doctor, get the right supplementation and get your levels corrected on priority.
Oxalic acid, found in Chocolates, Spinach, Cabbage, Broccoli, Peanuts, tend to bind the Calcium making it unavailable for absorption. Try not to combine calcium-rich foods with any of these foods.
Tea and Coffee: The tannins and caffeine in these beverages not only inhibit calcium absorption but also increase calcium excretion from the body.
Fibre, Sodium and Protein: Foods that are rich in Sodium and/or Protein interfere with absorption of calcium in the gut.