There are plenty of vegan foods high in calcium. However, not all of them are everyday ingredients. Therefore, I have compiled a list of my favorite high calcium vegan foods that I actually use regularly. In addition, I give my recommendation for the best vegan calcium supplement.
What Do We Need Calcium For?
Calcium is a mineral that maintains strong bones, plays a vital role in muscle contraction, regulates our blood pressure, encourages the transmission of nerve signals, and encourages the blood to clot when we cut ourselves.
Depending on our age, we should get between 600-1300 mg of calcium a day. While there are a lot of vegan calcium-rich foods such as fortified soy-milk, cereal, and bread, incorporating other sources is important to get your recommended daily intake.
Despite the dairy industry’s attempts to convince us otherwise, you don’t actually need to rely on the breast milk of another species as a source of calcium. Calcium can be found in abundance in a vegan diet if you know where to look.
Calcium Rich Vegan Foods
Fortunately incorporating calcium-rich foods into a plant-based diet is easy. Take a look at my list of 7 vegan foods high in calcium:
Unhulled Sesame Seeds
These oil-rich little seeds are calcium powerhouses. I recommend a bag of unhulled sesame seeds like this over the hulled variety you’d typically see on a burger bun, for example, because the nutrient levels are a lot higher.
In our case, 1 tablespoon of hulled sesame seeds has 11 mg of calcium whereas unhulled sesame seeds boast a whopping 88 mg!
Sesame seeds are a great source of fiber too, which is essential to gut health leading to many health benefits.
Throw sesame seeds into smoothies, dash them into stir-fries, bake them into your next loaf of bread, sprinkle over some broccoli (my favorite), or use them in a dressing.
A byproduct of sugar-cane refining, blackstrap molasses looks a little weird but adds a tonne of flavor and depth to cooking. Unlike refined sugar, molasses contains vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, B6, and, what we’re interested in, calcium.
A single tablespoon contains around 170 mg of calcium, and incorporating this into your diet is relatively easy.
Take a tablespoon dissolved in warm water and some Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s also worth finding some recipes that call for it specifically as it is a really interesting flavor.
The bitterness of the molasses compliments sweet dishes particularly well. This includes recipes such as pulled BBQ jackfruit and Asian stir-fries. I’ve also had some success using it in brownies and other chocolate baking.
Chia seeds are a natural superfood. They are low in calories (if you’re watching your weight) but deliver a massive amount of nutritional benefit. They are tiny, dark seeds, and were revered by the Aztecs for their health properties.
A tablespoon of chia seeds contains 63 mg of calcium, as well as some important omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are a versatile food and can be sprinkled over your cereal, baked into bread, thrown into a smoothie, or even stirred through some rice. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are similar to poppy seeds in texture.
Nothing against peanut butter, but almond butter has got it beat. It feels way more luxurious and has a really pleasant sweetness that peanut butter doesn’t. Delicious!
Not only are almonds high in mono-unsaturated fats (that’s a good thing), but almonds also help regulate our blood sugar levels.
I buy a 100% natural almond butter. Trust me, it doesn’t need salt or sugar added.
A tablespoon of almond butter contains 56 mg of calcium, which is one of the best calcium-rich foods vegan folks can find. Did I mention it’s delicious?
No need to cook with this, pour it straight into your mouth. Or, if you’re civilized, spread a tablespoon of it on some toast.
Baby soybeans, also known as edamame, are sweet and crunchy morsels of deliciousness. The Chinese and Japanese have been touting this as the best thing since sliced bread since way before sliced bread. And quite right too, it has a fantastic protein profile with all nine essential amino acids and plenty of fiber.
A half-cup of edamame contains around 49 mg of calcium.
Edamame is great in salads and Asian cooking but a delicious dry-roasted version can be found in convenient Edamame snack packs to take with you the go.
Our jiggly friend Tofu is here to help us out again, this time as a calcium-rich food that vegans can enjoy in a plethora of dishes. While the soy used in the process does contain some calcium, it’s actually the coagulating agent, gypsum, that provides most of the calcium punch here. This means that the firmer the tofu, the higher the calcium content.
A half-cup of your average extra-firm tofu is easily at least 200 mg of calcium.
I enjoy tofu in a satay stir-fry or in a Thai curry. However, silken tofu is great in smoothies and sauces as a thickener.
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans, are one of my favorite calcium-rich vegan foods. A cup of these bad boys is nearly 15g of protein!
They also provide you with a lot of fiber which is known to help protect against some forms of cancerhttps://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673618318099.
A single cup of chickpeas contains around 80mg of calcium.
My favorite way to enjoy chickpeas is in their mushy, delicious form known as hummus. We also like them in salads or spread on a baking sheet and baked until crispy with a little salt and paprika sprinkled on top. This is a great alternative to popcorn too!
Vegan Kidney Stones and Calcium
As vegans, we need to consider our intake of the organic compound Oxalate which is found in a lot of plants. Too much Oxalate inhibits calcium absorption and there are some studies that link it to kidney stones in susceptible people.
It should be said, however, that other studieshttps://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-treat-kidney-stones-with-diet/ suggest it’s actually animal proteins and high sodium diets that are more to blame. Whatsmore, yet another studyhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19679672/ actually found the incidence of kidney stones lower in vegans.
For most people this is not going to be an issue. However, if you know you are prone to kidney stones or you are particularly, risk-averse, I would avoid spinach, beet greens, and rhubarb which are vegan foods high in Oxalates, and, of course, always drink plenty of water.
Conclusion: Vegan Foods are High in Calcium
And there we go, 7 delicious vegan foods high in calcium. While it can sometimes feel difficult to meet nutritional targets, calcium is one of the easier ones.
That said, if your doctor has told you to take a calcium vitamin, I would recommend a high-quality calcium supplement like this. The ingredients are traceable and only high-quality sources of calcium are used.