Top 5 plant-based calcium sources to enhance bone health as you age

Calcium is a vital nutrient with multiple roles in your body, including bone maintenance, muscle function, blood pressure regulation, nerve signaling and clotting [1].

As people age, ensuring an adequate intake of calcium becomes increasingly essential. The recommended daily intake for adults is 1,000 mg, which rises to 1,200 mg for those over 50 and 1,300 mg for children aged 4-18 [2].

Many people, especially those who avoid animal products and dairy, struggle to meet these requirements However, numerous plant-based foods are rich in calcium [345].

Here are five vegan calcium-rich foods:

Chia Seeds: Beyond their reputation as tiny nutrient powerhouses, chia seeds have a surprising amount of calcium. A 100-gram serving offers 631 mg of calcium, protein, fiber and healthy fats [6]. However, excessive consumption can lead to digestive issues.

Edamame: Derived from young soybeans, edamame is another calcium powerhouse. A cup of non-shelled beans contains almost 100 mg of calcium [7]. Tofu, another soy-based product, boasts an impressive 434 mg in just half a cup.

Kale: Kale, a celebrated leafy green, packs a punch in the calcium department. A cup of cooked kale provides 177 mg of calcium, fiber, protein, and valuable vitamins like E and K [8].

Seaweed: Introducing seaweed to your diet enhances calcium intake. Wakame offers around 126 mg per cup, while raw or dried kelp supplies about 14% of the daily recommended intake per 80-gram cup [9]. Be cautious of seaweed’s heavy metal and iodine content, as excess consumption may harm your health.

Soy Milk: Soy milk is a top-notch plant-based milk, offering protein, amino acids, and an inflammation-fighting agent called isoflavones. These compounds contribute to heart health, lower blood pressure, and stronger bones. A cup of soy milk provides 300 mg of calcium, matching cow’s milk [10].

If you are following a vegan diet, you must diversify your diet to meet your calcium needs. Various plant foods contain calcium, including grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Several foods are fortified with calcium, highlighting the importance of including various options in your diet.

Calcium supports bone, muscle, circulatory and nervous system health [11]. If you don’t consume dairy products, you can maintain strong bones and overall wellbeing by eating plant-based sources.


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