We’ve all heard for years about the importance of calcium for strong bones. For year’s its been the same slogan: Eat 3 servings/day of dairy for getting in that calcium! Well, what if your body doesn’t handle dairy too well (like mine!). Are you destined to frail bones – no way!
In fact, I like non-dairy sources of calcium because this usually means fruits, veggies, legumes and grains – all which also contain other phytonutrients and FIBER. Think about it: if you eat 3 servings of dairy (no fiber), that is dairy at every meal, basically. That means 1 major part of every meal is already void of fiber. This is no good.
If you look back at Eastern medicine (AKA 5,000 year old knowledge), it suggests that limiting dairy in the diet is a good idea because of its “congesting” nature – it constipates, it creates mucus, it mucks things up. Even our everyday wisdom tells us to avoid dairy when we get a cold because of the phlegm factor. This seems to me like a good thing to just not OD on no matter what, because…who needs more “congestion” in their GI tract. Most of us already have a hard enough time keeping things moving, so let’s find some creative sources of Calcium that won’t leave you feeling backed up.
The sweetest part of what I’m going to reveal: these non-dairy foods are usually also naturally good sources of Magnesium too, which is needed for proper Calcium absorption. So, to get that recommended 1200 mg/day of Calcium without dairy, consider the following “off white” options:
Collard greens: 1 cup = 266 mg
Oatmeal: 1/2 cup raw = 326 mg
Figs: 10 medium = 269 mg
Northern beans + Navy beans: 1 cup = 121 mg
Tofu: 1/2 cup = 248 mg
Edemame: 1 cup = 175 mg
Spinach: 1 cup = 291
Even Salmon and Sardines have calcium. Yea, I know they aren’t veggies/beans but they aren’t dairy either. Salmon kicks in with 180 mg/3 oz and Sardines rock the house with 325 mg/3 oz.
Okay, so my FAVORITE discovery about Calcium is Molasses. Blackstrap Molasses, to be exact.
Just 1 Tbsp of Blackstrap gives up 172 mg Calcium. That is awesome! Molasses is a great topper for oatmeal (which also has the calcium), great in baking, and even works nicely as a sauce to sweeten white meats (mix with a little olive oil and a little chili powder and baste some chicken – YUM!).