Calcium Uptake

Dairy is usually a rich source of calcium. A cup (one cup is equivalent to 250ml) of whole milk contains as much as 290mg of calcium, while a cup of skim milk yoghurt holds about 452mg of calcium.

The recommended intake of calcium is between 1000mg to 1300mg per day for the average person. Meeting the recommended daily allowance for calcium does not pose such a major problem for vegetarians who are lacto-ovo. But this is not the case for vegans and vegetarians who are lactose intolerant.

The good news is calcium is also available in abundance from other food sources such as green vegetables, beans and lentils as well as seeds and nuts. Below is a short list of some calcium rich food:

  • A cup of baked bean 154mg
  • A cup of cooked collard greens 357mg
  • A cup of cooked soybeans 132mg
  • A cup of cooked broccoli 132mg
  • A cup of cooked Swiss chard 128mg
  • A cup of cooked dandelion greens 147mg
  • A cup of cooked kale 206mg
  • A cup of cooked mustard greens 193mg
  • A cup of cooked okra 147mg
  • A cup of raw bokchoy 116mg
  • A cup of cooked lambs quarters 618mg
  • A cup of soybean flour 143mg
  • A cup of cooked quinoa 82mg
  • A cup of soybean milk 46mg
  • A cup of rolled oats 20mg
  • A pack of tofu (250gm) 154mg
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds 109mg
  • ½ cup of whole almonds 83mg
  • 1 dries fig 27mg
  • 1 fresh medium orange 52mg
  • 1 fresh medium papaya 72mg
  • 1 corn tortilla 139mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 137mg

Source: The New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson et al, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California

With a bit of planning, meeting the RDA of 1300mg is a small challenge:

Breakfast

  • ½ cup of oats with a cup of soymilk 56mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 137mg
  • ½ fresh medium papaya 36mg

Mid-morning snack

  • ¼ cup whole almonds 41mg
  • 1 medium orange 52mg
  • 1 cup soybean milk 46mg

Lunch

  • 250gm tofu 154mg
  • ½ cup cooked kale 103mg
  • 1 cup cooked okra 147mg

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 2 dried figs 54mg

Dinner

  • 1 corn tortilla 139mg
  • ½ cup cooked lambs quarters 309mg
  • ½ an orange 26mg
  • Total calcium 1300mg

By eating a wide selection of food, meeting the RDA for calcium is not only convenient but also enjoyable because of the variety of food involved: from nuts to dried fruits and an array of vegetables and fresh fruits.