Calcium is the first thing we think of when we think of strong bones.
Due to advertising growing up, we also think of dairy as an amazing source of calcium.
In reality, it’s an okay source, but vegans should have no problem getting enough calcium in their diet without dairy.
How much calcium do you need a day? For adults, either men or women, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 800 to 1,000 mg.
The 30 Best Vegan Sources of Calcium by Amount Per Serving
Getting right into it, I’ve compiled a huge list of vegan foods, and created a table below of the top 30 foods in terms of calcium.
I’ve avoided fortified foods, focusing just on whole plant-based foods, but you likely get some extra in your almond milk, cereal, or bread as well.
The data comes from the USDA Food Composition Database.
This table is in terms of calcium per serving, which I think is the most realistic and useful way of looking at foods.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Calcium (mg)|
|Sesame seeds||0.5 cup||413||702|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||245|
|Collard greens||2.5 cup||25||197|
|Chia seeds||3 tbsp||146||189|
|Vital wheat gluten||100 g||370||142|
|Navy beans||1 cup||255||126|
|Brazil nut||0.5 cup||438||106|
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||104|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||74|
|Pistachio nuts||0.5 cup||344||65|
|Adzuki beans||1 cup||294||64|
|Mustard greens||1 cup||15||64|
|Fava bean||1 cup||187||61|
|Macadamia nut||0.5 cup||481||57|
A couple of highlights:
- Dark leafy greens are excellent sources of calcium – Spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, and kale all have a significant amount per serving.
- Seeds are a great source of calcium – Adding some sesame seeds (or having hummus) or chia seeds is a great way to get a large portion of your daily calcium intake.
- Nuts are an okay source of calcium – They mostly round out the list and have some calcium, but also a lot of calories. Almonds are the best nut in terms of calcium.
The 30 Best Vegan Sources of Calcium by Amount Per 100 Calories
Another good way to look at calcium content of foods is to look at how much calcium a food has per 100 calories. This is important if you’re trying to lose weight.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Calcium (mg)||Calcium per 100 calories (mg)|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||74||822.2222222|
|Collard greens||2.5 cup||25||197||788|
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||104||577.7777778|
|Mustard greens||1 cup||15||64||426.6666667|
|Water spinach||1 cup||11||43||390.9090909|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||245||269.2307692|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.5 head||20||51||255|
|Napa cabbage||1 cup||13||32||246.1538462|
|Sesame seeds||0.5 cup||413||702||169.9757869|
|Chia seeds||3 tbsp||146||189||129.4520548|
|Green bean||10 beans||17||20||117.6470588|
|Bamboo shoot||1 shoot||17||17||100|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||56||100|
The dark leafy greens absolutely dominate this list, they have a lot of calcium and very few calories. The issue is that they have a lot of volume, so it can be hard to eat a lot of them.
Risks of Calcium Deficiency
If you have a serious calcium deficiency, it can lead to weaker bones and diseases like osteoporosis.
There’s no reason for a vegan to lack calcium in their diet, but if you’re worried, you can also use a vegan calcium supplement. Here’s a guide to the best vegan calcium supplements.
Not all calcium supplements are vegan.
Some are derived from oysters, and others contain vitamin D as well, which may be derived from sheep (lanolin).
Make sure that the supplement that you buy either specifically says that it’s made for vegans (usually in the brand/product name) or “suitable for vegetarians” somewhere on the label.