Ask the Dietitian: Calcium

Q: Will I get enough calcium without consuming dairy?

Ginny Messina, R.D.: With a little bit of attention to food choices, you can easily meet calcium needs from plant foods. Certain leafy green vegetables—collards, turnip greens and mustard greens—are good sources of calcium that is very well absorbed by the body. Others such as kale, broccoli and cabbage also provide some calcium. (You won’t get calcium from spinach or Swiss chard, though, since the body can’t absorb calcium from these two greens). Fortified plant foods and tofu made with calcium sulfate are also excellent sources of this nutrient. Certain beans, nuts and seeds also provide small amounts of calcium.

You can meet calcium needs by eating a diet that includes a variety of whole plant foods including a total of 2 cups per day of cooked Chinese cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, collards, calcium-set tofu, fortified plant milks or  fortified juices.

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