May 16 – Surprise sources of calcium!

It has been suggested that nowadays many of us have the digestive disorder generally called lactose intolerance (me included). Lactose intolerance happens when your body is not able to absorb and digest the lactose enzymes in dairy products.

For many years now we have been taught that the main and best sources of calcium are dairy products. We are also told that we should consume dairy products to maintain good strong bones, nerves, muscles and teeth. So for those of us who cannot consume dairy how else can we consume calcium?

In this article I will look at the top five alternative foods that can help you consume calcium and, amazingly enough, all of these food sources contain more calcium than milk. All quantities will be compared to 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of whole milk, which is said to contain around 276mg of calcium.

Number One: Almonds

It may be hard and quite bland to sit and eat a whole cup of almonds at once but almonds contain around 378mg of calcium per cup coming out at over 100mg more than a cup of milk. For those of you  who like to graze throughout the day and have a nibble here and there these are a great option as you will not only be consuming you dairy intake but healthy fats as well. If you find plain almonds boring then there are many other ways in which you can consume them, for example;  almond butter, crumbling almonds on your salad, roasting then or even adding them into your cooking or desserts. Almonds are also a good source of protein, magnesium, and fibre.


Number Two: Collard greens

Collard greens are next and you can eat them raw or cooked; however, the calcium content will differ slightly. A cup of frozen collard greens contains around 357mg of calcium where as the same amount of raw collard greens, will only contain around 266mg of calcium. This suggests that consuming cooked collard greens is more beneficial than eating them raw. You can add collard greens to your daily meals or even add them to a shake.

Number Three: Rhubarb

Who would have thought that consuming such a nice sweet pudding could be so good for you. One cup of rhubarb contains around 348mg of calcium, now that’s a great alternative to milk. Rhubarb can be eaten as a nice hot pudding with yogurt or even cold. Other added benefits of rhubarb are, it is high in protein, vit c & k, potassium, magnesium and a whole bunch more.

Number Four: Spinach

Spinach is up next and, similar to collard greens, fresh and frozen can provide differing amounts of calcium. Frozen spinach (spinach frozen immediately after picking) contains around 291mg of calcium per cup whereas fresh spinach contains just 30mg of calcium. Another factor to consider is weather the spinach has been cooked or not. Cooked spinach can provide more calcium than raw as during the heating process molecules bind together allowing the calcium from the spinach to be absorbed more easily by our bodies when digested.


Number Five: Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are very versatile and can be added to most foods such as salads or eaten alone as a snack or added to a shake. One cup can provide around 1404mg of calcium making it a very good alternative to milk.

So in conclusion, if you are lactose intolerant or just looking for a healthy alternative to milk then any of the foods mentioned above are worth a try. I enjoy eating all of the above and use them within my daily meals and snacks.

Alongside those foods mentioned above other alternatives could be; broccoli, peas, okra, kale, blackeyed beans and various sea foods such as salmon and sardines.

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