If you or your children are lactose-intolerant, how will you get enough calcium in your diet to keep your teeth and jaw bones strong? Just for reference, the average adult needs 1,000 to 2,000 mg of calcium each day to keep our bodies adequately fortified.
The good news is that there are a lot of foods that are rich in calcium, even more so than a glass of milk. Yet somehow in America, we end up believing that milk is the primary source of calcium…
Orange Juice with Added Calcium – Oranges are natural sources of calcium, but many brands of orange juice will add more calcium. Looks for juice packages marked as, “with calcium” or “plus calcium”. A cup of frozen orange juice from concentrate with added calcium contains 1,514 mg of calcium. Remember to drink some water after drinking orange juice, just to wash away the sugars.
Tofu with Added Calcium – Raw, firm tofu with added calcium delivers 861 mg of calcium per half cup. Better yet, tofu is naturally gluten-free and contains no cholesterol. It’s also high in protein. If you’re already in the habit of cooking yourself at least one meal a day, think about ways to add diced tofu. Stir fry is a great way to add tofu, but also use it in ramen, or toss it into salads.
Canned Fish – Canned sardines (569 mg per cup) and salmon (241 mg per cup) are great sources of calcium, but only if you eat the bones. That’s where all the calcium is. In canned fish, the bones are pretty soft and easily digestible. They’re best used as a topping on steamed rice, but interestingly, some people love them on pizzas.
Beans – This “musical fruit” has long been a staple for its high protein and nutritional content. Among them is calcium. One cup of soybeans contains 515 mg of calcium, white beans have 485 mg and kidney beans serve up 359 mg.
Almonds – With 246 mg of calcium per cup (a couple of handfuls), almonds are a great snack. Also high in healthy fats, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E, no wonder almonds are now being produced into milks and spreads.
Leafy Green Vegetables – Fresh foods like kale (179 mg per cup), frozen collard greens (357 mg per cup) and cooked spinach (257 mg per cup) are great sources of calcium. But because they’re so low in sugar and calories, yet high in vitamins and fiber, they’ve become a modern-day wonder-food.
Soy Milk – If your recipes call for milk, try replacing it with soy milk. On average, soy milk enhanced with calcium contains 340 mg per cup (compared to about 61 mg per cup if it’s unfortified). Don’t overlook almond milk too.