You need calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy. Calcium also helps your blood vessels to carry blood, your muscles to move, and your nerves to carry messages between the brain and other body parts. It also plays a part in the release of enzymes and hormones.
Calcium is your bone’s best friend. Take it out of your diet and your body will crumble because of weak bones and malfunctioning nerves and muscles. If you’re looking to tank up on this vital nutrient, there’s more on offer than that tall glass of milk. While milk and other dairy products are great sources of calcium, many vegetables also stack up on the calcium index. So whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking for veggie options, here’s what you need to get in.
Recommended Daily Intake Of Calcium For Adults Is 1000 Mg–1200 Mg
- The recommended dietary intake for all adults between 19 to 50 years is 1000 mg.
- Between the ages of 51 and 70, men need 1000 mg while women need 1200 mg.
- From the age of 71, both men and women need 1200 mg.
- Children need 700 mg daily between the ages of 1 and 3, 1000 mg between 4 and 8, and 1300 mg between 9 and 18.1
Here’s a look at some veggies that can fortify you with this important mineral. The daily value (DV) for the following has been pegged at 1300 mg. The percentage DV met by a standard serving of veggies should help you work out the best way to meet your calcium requirements.2
1 cup rhubarb, cooked: 348 mg of calcium (26.7% DV)
One of the richest sources of calcium when it comes to vegetables, rhubarb is often treated like a fruit. Typically cooked with sugar, rhubarb is perfect for that moreish jam, pie, or crumble. Or stew rhubarbs with some ginger and cinnamon and pair with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect dessert. One cup of cooked rhubarb will give you a whopping 348 mg of calcium or 26.7% of your DV. Do keep in mind that only rhubarb leaf stalks should be eaten. The leaves have high levels of oxalic acid and can be toxic.3 4
2. Collard Greens
1 cup of collards, cooked: 268 mg of calcium (20.6% DV)
If you’re looking to up your intake of calcium, collard greens are the way to go. These leafy veggies are a member of the cabbage family but look more like a leafy lettuce. A cup of these nutritious veggies will give you 268 mg of bone-building calcium or 20.6% of your DV.5 Have them raw in a salad or cook up with a dash of garlic, chili flakes, and sesame oil to make your own version of the southern “mess of greens.”
1 cup of spinach, cooked: 245 mg of calcium (18.8% DV)
What’s a list of calcium-rich veggies without the green, leafy spinach! Use it raw in salads, stir fry it, steam it, blend it into your smoothie – the options are endless. If you are in the mood for something indulgent, how about a wholesome creamed spinach casserole or a decadent spinach and shrimp pasta dish? One cup of Popeye’s favorite cooked up brings you 245 mg of calcium – that’s 18.8% of your DV.6
4. Turnip Greens
1 cup turnip greens, cooked: 197 mg of calcium (15.1% DV)
Here’s another green leafy vegetable that’s rich in calcium! A cup of cooked turnip greens gives you 197 mg of calcium. That’s 15.1% of your DV right there. You can steam or boil these for a lovely and satisfying pile of greens. Or how about a fiery stir-fry with anchovies, chilies, and garlic?7
5. Mustard Greens
1 cup mustard greens, cooked: 165 mg of calcium (12.6% DV)
6. Chinese Cabbage
1 cup Chinese cabbage, cooked: 158 mg of calcium (12.1% DV)
Chinese cabbage, bok choi, or pak choy is another great source of calcium. One cup of these greens cooked will give you 12.1% of your DV with 158 mg of calcium. Rustle up an Asian stir-fry or use it in your stews, soups, or casseroles. The young leaves are tender and can even be used raw in salads or serve as a garnish. The delicate veggie will just not disappoint!9
1 cup of edamame, cooked: 98 mg of calcium (7.5% DV)
These green soybeans add both calcium and protein to your diet, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan. They can be steamed, boiled, or microwaved and eaten as a snack. They also work wonders in a pilaf, pasta, or noodles. You can even make burgers or a risotto with these delicate beans. A cup of cooked green soya beans will give you 98 mg or 7.5% DV of calcium.10
1 cup kale, cooked: 94 mg of calcium (7.2% DV)
Here’s another member of the cabbage family that can chalk up a healthy dose of calcium. A cup of cooked kale will supply you with 7.2% of your DV with 94 mg of calcium. Shred them into a salad or whip up a stir-fry or soup. Better still, chuck them in the oven with a little salt and oil and make yourself some healthy, yummy crisps.11
1 cup okra, cooked: 62 mg of calcium (4.7% DV)
Originally from Africa, okra has made inroads into a range of cuisines from Cajun and Caribbean to Indian food. Cook them right and you have a dish that’s sure to stand out. Okra pairs up beautifully with garlic and exotic spices like cumin and coriander. Roast them off in the oven or toss them in high heat with Indian spices. A cup of cooked okra will give you 62 mg of calcium – that’s 4.7% of your DV.12
1 cup broccoli, chopped and cooked: 31 mg of calcium (2.3% DV)
You may have turned up your nose at this veggie when you were small, but the broccoli is full of goodness you can’t beat! Its calcium content isn’t too shabby either. A cup of cooked broccoli will give you 31 mg of calcium or 2.3% of your DV. If you’re still not much of a broccoli fan, try it in a pasta bake or casserole. Stir-fry with cashews, chopped garlic, and a dash of lime and you may just become a believer! 13