Calcium: It’s NOT Just About Dairy

By: Kelli Kieselbach

Many people are concerned about how reducing their dairy intake will affect their Calcium levels.

We have been bomb-barded with information over the last decade about the importance of calcium for bone health and you would be forgiven for thinking that dairy products were the only source of calcium as they are the main focus when it comes to dietary dairy sources. Well dairy is not the only source of Calcium and certainly in some cases it may not be the best source of calcium. Great news for those who don’t tolerate dairy!

Dairy foods have been picked out because they do contain high levels of Calcium but we need to also consider how much of that calcium is being absorbed. Dairy also contain high levels of other naturally occurring chemicals which prevent our body from fully utilizing that Calcium. There are other foods which at first glance may seem less superior to dairy in the Calcium stakes, but are in fact more useful sources because they are better absorbed.

Below is a list of non-dairy foods that are good calcium sources. Calcium value is per 100g of food.

  • Sardines (with the bones) 550mg
  • Linseeds 271mg
  • Almonds (& almond butter) 250mg
  • Eggs (chicken – more for duck eggs) 56mg
  • Sesame seeds (& tahini – unhulled) 1160mg
  • Dried figs 260mg
  • Cabbage 77mg
  • Lemons 110mg
  • Stewed Rhubarb 93mg
  • Chia seeds 631mg
  • Tofu 170mg
  • Brazil nuts 180mg
  • Parsley 260
  • Broccoli 125mg
  • Carob powder 355mg
  • Kelp 1095mg
  • Watercress 190mg
  • Spring onions (& other onion varieties) 140mg
  • Navy Beans 95mg
  • Chickpeas 70mg

It’s important to remember that when it comes to bone health Calcium is not the only factor. Resistance exercise, adequate sunshine for vitamin D synthesis and other trace minerals are all important things to consider for maintaining good bone density.

Calcium supplements may be useful in some circumstances. Not all calcium supplements are created equal though, and unfortunately there are many poor quality calcium supplements out there. It is best to talk to your Nutritionist/Naturopath about which supplement is best for you and what dose you should be taking. There is no point wasting money on supplements you won’t absorb!

Disclaimer: This information is provided for general interest and education only. It is not designed to replace the advice of your doctor or natural therapist. Herbal and nutritional medicines should be prescribed by a health professional trained in these fields to ensure they are both safe and beneficial.


Article supplied with thanks to Kelli Kieselbach.

About the Author: Kelli Kieselbach is a Naturopath and Nutritionist with a passion for a holistic and natural approach to health and wellbeing. She also works to educate Christian ministry leaders in self care and avoiding burnout.

Feature image: Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash 

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