How Can I Get Calcium if I Can’t Tolerate Dairy?

One question I get a lot is how can I get calcium if I can’t tolerate dairy?

Calcium is one of our macro minerals and is important for many different aspects of our health, including regulating our nervous system, blood sugar balance, thyroid health, bone health, and so much more.

When you think about how you can get calcium in your diet, the first thing you will likely think of is dairy. This makes sense since many dairy products contain a significant amount of bioavailable calcium (meaning it is easy to absorb). For example, 1 cup of Greek yogurt contains 220-240mg of calcium and 1 cup of milk contains about 300mg of calcium.

There are actually quite a few other foods that also contain a significant amount of calcium that are not part of the dairy category. While my goal for the women we work with is always going to be to properly digest dairy, these are great options for times when you cannot include it.

My Top 5 Non Dairy Calcium Sources:
1. Cooked Collard Greens: 1 cup contains 327mg of calcium
2. Sardines: one 3.75oz can contains 351mg of calcium
3. Cooked Kale: 1 cup contains 179mg of calcium
4. Salmon: 6oz contains 340mg of calcium
5. White Beans: 1 cup contains 161mg of calcium

You will see cooked next to collard greens and kale because while the raw versions are still high in calcium, we absorb much less of the mineral because of the oxalate content. Oxalates bind to minerals and reduce how much we are able to absorb in our gut. Cooking reduces the oxalate content and increases our ability to absorb calcium.

PMID: 15826055, 2801588

Want to learn more about the benefits of calcium? Listen to my podcast episode calcium deep dive.

Not sure where to get started when it comes to minerals? Check out my mineral quiz to get started!

reminder: i’m currently taking on 1:1 clients. if you’d like to explore what it would be like to work together and if we are a good fit, fill out this form to get more details!​

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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