10 Plant Foods With More Calcium Than Milk
Lack of calcium can lead to a number of symptoms and illnesses including brittle bones and fractures, weakness and fatigue, cardiovascular problems, delays in child development and most commonly, osteoporosis.
For decades we thought that milk is necessary in order to provide our bodies with adequate amounts of calcium. But is that true?
Alright! Time for some myth debunking! What if I told you that there is no link between milk consumption and bone health?
Ever wondered about why dairy products are being pushed onto us as a great source of calcium when in reality, countries with the most dairy consumption have the highest percentages of osteoporosis? Has there even been an association between dairy and higher levels of calcium?
Let’s check out some statistics drawn from the International Osteoporosis Foundation website:
- Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50.
- By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women, compared to rates in 1990.
- The combined lifetime risk for hip, forearm and vertebral fractures coming to clinical attention is around 40%, equivalent to the risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Osteoporosis takes a huge personal and economic toll. In Europe, the disability due to osteoporosis is greater than that caused by cancers (with the exception of lung cancer).
- Europe and the Americas account for 51% of all osteoporotic fractures.
This is a graph of statistical data derived from the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations) 2013 report and demonstrates the countries with the highest dairy consumption.
The data clearly shows that countries with the largest dairy consumption are those with the highest percentages of osteoporosis.
You would think that these statistics point to a reduction of milk consumption but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, according to a study, global milk production has nearly doubled in the last 50 years.
Dairy And Bone Fractures
A meta-analysis of a compilation of cohort studies found no association between milk consumption and fracture risk.
Evidence suggest that in regards to teenage years, there is no association between milk consumption and a lower risk of bone fracture. In fact, dairy consumption was associated with a borderline increase in fracture risk in men.
An analysis of two large studies (involving 61,433 women and 45,339 men), concluded that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality.
Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of premature death as well as higher risk of bone and hip fractures.
With all the evidence mounting up, one should question why dairy is so religiously portrait by government organisations and the media as a good source of calcium.
Choose A Plant Source Of Calcium
Milk and other dairy products are high in saturated fat, that raise levels of LDL cholesterol which in turn is associated with cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.
For more information on what a glass of milk truly contains, check out my article here: Exposed: What’s really in your glass of milk?
Since there is no evidence to suggest that dairy consumption has any positive effects on bone health, the sensible thing to do would be to choose a healthier, cruelty-free source of calcium. And yes! You can get calcium from plants!
Unfortunately, from a young age we were taught that milk=calcium. But you know what? There are plenty of plant sources of calcium.
10 Plant Foods With More Calcium Than Milk
The recommendation for daily calcium intake is around 1000 milligrams and vegans can easily meet those requirements with a balanced whole foods diet.
The idea that you can only get calcium from milk is a complete misconception! Let’s go through 10 plant foods that will give you all the calcium your body requires!
Kale is an excellent source of calcium. A mere 100g of kale provides 205mg of calcium which accounts for 21% of your daily requirements.
According to a study, our bodies can absorb calcium from kale more efficiently than from milk.
Leafy greens in general have high amounts of calcium and the most concentrated overall nutrition per calorie. 100g of spinach contains 100mg of calcium.
Check out this traditional spinach recipe that I’ve posted a while ago.
I’ve only tried tempeh for the first time last summer and I was really blown away. Being someone who doesn’t particularly like tofu or other soy products, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted and how versatile of an ingredient it is.
Tempeh is rich in calcium. 100g provides you with around 11% of your daily calcium needs.
A cup of hemp milk contains a whopping 460mg of calcium! Yup, consuming a single serving of this plant milk means that you have met half of your daily calcium requirements!
Pretty fantastic when you consider the fact that a glass of cow’s milk contains only 113 mg of calcium! One for the good guys!
Tahini and sesame seeds are extremely rich in calcium as well as those all important omegas!
Drizzle two tablespoons of tahini onto your salad and provide your body with 130mg of calcium! Delicious and nutritious!
Soybeans are a great source of calcium. They are also an excellent source of plant protein (but protein tho argument shuttered!).
Soybeans contain approximately 175mg of calcium per cup.
Yup! Fruit can be a great source of calcium too!
There is nothing better for the human body than nourishing it with fruit! Figs in particular, are very nutrient-dense. They are a great source of vitamin K, iron, potassium, manganese and, you guessed it, calcium.
100g of figs provide 162mg of calcium.
Turnip greens such as bok choy and Chinese cabbage, are extremely high in calcium.
100g of boiled turnip greens provide on average 147mg of calcium which is the equivalent to 14% of your daily requirements.
I literally have a bowl of broccoli with every meal, every day! No joke!
Broccoli is such a great plant food in the sense that it provides so much nutrition in small quantities! 1 cup of broccoli covers about 10% of your daily calcium needs. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
Almonds are a great example of how nutrient-dense plant foods are!
A mere 50g of almonds provides 13mg of vitamin E, 1.8mg of iron and 132mg of calcium! And if almonds are expensive at your location, you can always swap with almond butter. Yum!
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- International Osteoporosis Foundation
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Global production and consumption of animal source foods (Speedy, 2003)
- Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies (Michaëlsson , Wolk A, Langenskiöld S, Basu S, Warensjö Lemming E Melhus H Byberg L, 2014)
- Calcium supplementation and bone mineral density in females from childhood to young adulthood: a randomized controlled trial (Matkovic V, Goel PK, Badenhop-Stevens NE, Landoll JD, Li B, Ilich JZ, Skugor M, Nagode LA, Mobley SL, Ha EJ, Hangartner TN, Clairmont A., 2005)