Calcium is an essential mineral in the process of building strong bones, and as such, it is equally important when it comes to promoting and maintaining bone health at any age. With the average recommended daily intake of calcium being about 1,000 milligrams, the reality is that too many people don’t hit the daily target. For many of these people, the reason behind this is that they do not like, or they have an intolerance to, most dairy products.


However, while dairy is the first food group to come to mind when we think of calcium, it is by no means the only one which contains foods that serve as strong sources of the essential mineral in our diets. Take a look at our list of some of the top nondairy sources of calcium, and try to give these foods more of a place in your daily diet to make sure that your body is getting all the calcium it needs, with or without the dairy.


Tofu is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, but as it turns out, it’s also one of the best nondairy calcium sources you can find. With about 430 milligrams per one half cup serving, tofu has more than double the amount of calcium per one half cup serving than common dairy sources like milk and yogurt have. The best part about tofu is that it is extremely versatile. It easily takes on the flavor of whatever meals you are putting it in, making it one of the simplest ways to sneak some extra calcium into your diet.


There are several fruit sources of calcium, but figs may possibly be one of the best. A cup of dried figs contains about 240 milligrams of calcium, and while it’s not likely that you’ll be consuming an entire cup, you still get about 14 milligrams for each dried fig. At approximately 20 calories a fig, you can consume 70 milligrams of calcium for every 100 calories of dried figs you eat. With their sweet flavor and chewy texture, dried figs may definitely be one of the tastiest nondairy calcium sources, making reaching your daily recommended intake feel more like indulgence than a chore.


Just a single sardine has 46 milligrams of calcium, and a whole can of sardines contains about 351 milligrams. However, many people are reluctant to try sardines if they haven’t already because of a rather unfavorable reputation which has labeled them as not particularly tasty. The truth is, there are actually a ton of delicious ways you can eat these little fish, including using them in your salads and pastas or mashing them up and mixing them with your favorite herbs and spices to make a yummy paste. With the right recipe, you can definitely make your aversion to sardines a thing of the past and can get some extra calcium in the process.


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With about 100 milligrams of calcium per every one cup serving of kale, this leafy green has approximately one third of the calcium in milk. That being said, it might not be the strongest of the nondairy sources of calcium, but it’s still going to be a good way for you to supplement your usual calcium intake. Plus, the best part about kale is that in addition to a healthy dose of calcium, your body gets a ton of other nutrients as well, including vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like iron, potassium, and manganese.


Edamame, which are immature soybeans, are another good nondairy source of calcium. With about 98 milligrams of calcium per cup, they are similar to kale in that they are not quite as high up on the list as other alternatives. Nevertheless, these green beans are definitely still a noteworthy source of the mineral. Furthermore, with each cup containing less than 200 calories, just eight grams of fat, and a wealth of vitamins and minerals — including high protein and fiber content — edamame are a particularly valuable addition to any diet.


What are some other foods you know of that can be strong nondairy sources of calcium? Share them below or tweet me @tamarahoumi