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Calcium is an important part of a healthy diet.  This mineral plays a crucial role in: maintaining bone health, muscle contractions, nerve function, blood pressure stability, and healing.

Depending on your age, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium ranges from 800-1200 mg/day.  As an example, cows milk contains 300 mg of calcium.

For those affected by milk allergies or lactose intolerance, the following are some options to keep your intake high:

Tofu 350 mg ½ cup
Tapioca 300 mg ½ cup
Chia seeds 300 mg 1/5 ounces
Collard greens 210 mg ½ cup
Kale 200 mg ½ cup
Bok Choy 190 mg ½ cup
Almonds 93 mg ¼ cup
White beans 120 mg ½ cup
Sesame seeds 51 mg 1 Tbsp
Figs 135 mg 5 figs

Maintaining bone health is more than just ingesting adequate calcium.  Consuming excessive protein and sodium, for example, will increase calcium excretion in the urine.  Excessive antacid use will also deplete calcium stores.

Ingesting calcium in food sources is important as calcium absorption is enhanced when other nutrients are metabolized at the same time.  Vitamin D, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, and magnesium are all critical components of calcium metabolism and bone health.  Absence of these other nutrients prevents adequate uptake of calcium into bones.

Here are some whole food ideas to get the most out of your calcium:

-Add legumes and beans to a chili or stew

-Mix tofu as well as kale and other greens into soups

-Top salads with broccoli, seaweed, almonds, and sunflower seeds

-Spread almond butter or hummus on whole grain or pita bread

Try the following recipe to boost your calcium intake, the non-dairy way:

Annika’s Favorite Rice Pudding

By: Amy Hugon

Kids with Food Allergies Website

Free of the Top 8


¾ cup uncooked rice


1 quart dairy-free milk alternative

½ cup maple syrup or ¾ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla (optional)

dash cinnamon

½ cup raisins (optional)


Fill large pot with water, and add rice.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain.

Put rice back in pot.  Add milk alternative and sweetener (either maple syrup or sugar).  Return to medium-high heat, and stir occasionally.  Allow to boil slowly, continuing to stir occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes until pudding thickens and darkens.  Add raisins, if desired, and stir another 5 minutes or so.

Remove from heat.  Add in vanilla and/or cinnamon, if desired.

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