7 Surprising Ways to Get Calcium Without Dairy

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Are you getting enough calcium? We’re great at making sure our little kids get enough calcium, but as we (and our children) get older … not so much. Yet calcium’s important for everyone: It’s a major player in skeletal health, and also is used to help nerves send signals and muscles contract. Most adults need 1,000 milligrams per day. Women over 50 and men over 70 need 1,200 milligrams per day. Teenagers, pregnant and nursing women need 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. If you’re not a big fan of milk or yogurt, make sure you’re getting calcium through some of these surprising sources.

Collard greens (pictured above)

Cup for cup, collard greens outpace milk in calcium content. A cup of cooked collard greens gives you 357 milligrams of calcium. Spinach and bok choy also have high amounts of calcium, though not as much as collard greens.

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Tofu

As long as tofu’s been prepared with calcium (check the ingredient list), it’s a great source of calcium, delivering 253 milligrams in a half cup.

Mineral Water

Calcium is a mineral, so it makes sense that it’s found in mineral water. One cup gives you 33 milligrams. Even regular water has calcium, in slightly smaller amounts (24 milligrams per cup)

Total cereal

Most cereals are fortified, but Total is one of the few that are fortified with calcium. (With most cereal, you get calcium from eating it with milk.) Total is fortified with 1,000 mg of calcium.

Basil

Both dried and fresh basil provide a bit of calcium (10 milligrams in 1 teaspoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh). Other herbs, such as savory, thyme, dill and marjoram, also have calcium.

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Rhubarb

Spring’s ruby stalks are best friends with strawberries, and they also deliver calcium: 266 milligrams per cup.

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Canned salmon

Don’t toss the small fish bones in canned salmon — eat them! These soft bones are loaded with calcium: 3 ounces of canned salmon with bones gives you 212 milligrams of calcium.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.