Loading Up on Calcium Without Dairy

Calcium is a key nutrient in bone health, and plays an important role in heart, muscle, and nerve function. Some research suggests that calcium may play a role in protecting against diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure, however, more studies are needed. If you are like many Americans who are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy products for other reasons, you may be wondering how to get in enough calcium. Luckily, there are other plant and fish based sources of calcium to meet your needs, which vary by age and gender. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,300mg/day for 9-18 year olds, 1,000mg/day for 19-50 year olds in women, 1,000mg/day for 19-70 year olds in men, 1,200mg/day for >51 years in women and 1,200mg/day for >71 years in men. Sources include, almonds, dried beans, green vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and broccoli, as well as fish with soft bones that are eaten, such as canned salmon and sardines. Other sources include fortified cereals, tofu, soymilk, and orange juice.