Best Sources of Calcium For Vegans

August 09, 2019

Best Sources of Calcium For Vegans

Calcium is so important for our body. It is our source for strong bones and generally sources through cow’s milk. But luckily, there are so many other ways we can get this imperative vitamin into our bodies. Not only is calcium good for the bones, but it is also good for muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission and avoiding blood clots. 

The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 1,000 mg per day for adults. This shoots up to 1,200 mg for those over 50, and 1,300 for children ages 4–18. Even without being vegan, a lot of people do not meet the recommendations. A healthy person must have a balance no matter which diet they are on. Education is key!

Here are the top 10 vegan foods high in calcium:

Soy Foods

Soy milk, tofu, and other soybean-based foods are good alternatives for people who want to add more plant-based protein and calcium to their diets. As good sources of protein and calcium, soybean-based foods are bone-friendly additions to any diet. 

Other major health benefits of these foods are that they contain no cholesterol, are low in saturated fat and calories, and are a good source of fiber, iron, zinc, potassium and B vitamins. In fact, soybeans are the only vegetable food that contains all eight essential amino acids.

Soy has also been investigated for its possible role in preventing osteoporosis.  A 120 g serving of tofu contains approximately 125 mg of calcium. One cup (175 grams) of cooked soybeans provides 18.5% of the RDI, whereas the same quantity of immature soybeans — known as edamame — offers around 27.6% 

Beans, Peas, and Lentils

In addition to being rich in fiber and protein, beans and lentils are good sources of calcium. They are also rich in iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and folate as well as antinutrients such as phytates and lectins which help absorb the nutrients. It is therefore important to soak beans to stop the antinutrients from working. The varieties providing the highest levels of calcium per cooked cup (about 175 grams) include:

  • winged (goa) beans: 26% of the RDI
  • white beans: 13% of the RDI
  • navy beans: 13% of the RDI
  • black beans: 11% of the RDI
  • chickpeas: 9% of the RDI
  • kidney beans: 7% of the RDI
  • lentils: 4% of the RDI

In addition, diets rich in beans, peas, and lentils lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases your risk of having type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and premature death.


These tree nuts pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only do almonds contain nearly 200 mg of the recommended daily dose of calcium. Almonds also provide 3 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), as well as healthy fats and protein. In addition, they’re an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and vitamin E that help build a healthy lifestyle.

Eating nuts may help lower blood pressure, body fat and other risk factors for metabolic disease. Enjoy a handful as a quick snack, but if you're craving something a bit sweeter, try this gluten-free almond cake.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are second to almonds, providing around 6% of the RDI per 1/4 cup (35 grams) while walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts provide between 2–3% of the RDI for the same quantity.

Eating nuts regularly may help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and reduce risk factors for metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Seeds and their butter are also good sources of calcium, but the amount they contain depends on the variety.

  • Tahini is a butter made from sesame seeds which contain the most calcium, providing 130 mg per 2 tablespoons or 13% of the RDI.
  • Chia and flax seeds also contain decent amounts, providing around 5–6% of the RDI per 2 tablespoons (20–25 grams).

Similar to nuts, seeds provide fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. Plus, they’re linked to health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, blood sugar levels, and risk factors for heart disease.


Next time you order sushi, order a side of calcium-rich seaweed salad. Raw wakame contains 150 milligrams of calcium per 100-gram serving, while the same amount of kelp contains 168 milligrams. If you’re buying dried seaweed, simply soak it in water until it becomes tender. Use the dehydrated veggies in soups, salads, or in standalone dishes.

Wakame provides around 126 mg or 12% of the RDI per cup (80 grams). You can find it in most Asian supermarkets or in sushi restaurants (4Trusted Source).

Kelp, which can be eaten raw or dried, is another popular option. One cup (80 grams) of raw kelp — which you can add to salads and main dishes — provides around 14% of the RDI. Dried kelp flakes can also be used as a seasoning.

Some seaweed may also contain heavy metals and excessively high levels of iodine which needs to be monitored when possible.

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