It is possible for a person to get sufficient calcium without relying on supplements or dairy products.
There are plenty of alternative foods [to dairy] that can provide the necessary calcium intake. Here are some tips to help you meet your calcium needs without dairy:
- Explore plant-based calcium sources: Include calcium-rich plant foods in your diet, such as leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens), broccoli, bok choy, tofu (if fortified), legumes (chickpeas, black beans, lentils), almonds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds.
- Opt for fortified foods: Look for non-dairy milk alternatives, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk, that are fortified with calcium. Also, check for other fortified foods like cereals, bread, or plant-based yogurts that contain added calcium.
- Consider calcium-rich seafood: Fatty fish like salmon and sardines, which are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, contain calcium. Canned fish with bones, such as canned salmon, can be particularly high in calcium.
- Get sunlight for vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Spend some time outdoors to allow your skin to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. If sunlight exposure is limited, you can consider vitamin D supplements or foods fortified with vitamin D.
- Focus on overall nutrient balance: Ensure you have a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This will support overall nutrient intake and contribute to bone health.
It’s important to note that calcium needs vary depending on age, sex, and individual factors, so consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended to determine the appropriate calcium intake for your specific needs. They can help tailor a diet plan that suits your preferences and dietary requirements.