Plant–based calcium sources that might surprise you!

By Simple Happy Kitchen news |
December 1, 2022

Calcium is the most common mineral in the human body and one of the most important minerals for our health. 99% of the calcium in our bodies is stored in our bones and teeth, in what you may call “the body’s scaffolding”. The extra percent can be found in the blood and tissues. Calcium is also essential in the normal functionality of our muscles - including our heart!  

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A broccoli who's mindful about its calcium intake!

What happens when we don’t get enough calcium?

When we fail to meet the proper amount of calcium our body requires, our body will just go to the calcium storage—our bones—for the missing calcium. This means that a long–term calcium deficiency might lead to osteoporosis, bone fragility, easily broken bones and even loss of mobility. 

That’s why it is very important to maintain healthy levels of calcium in our bodies, especially during puberty and our early 20’s, which is when our bones develop and grow. This of course doesn’t mean we can later stop consuming proper amounts of calcium, as it keeps being extremely important all throughout our lives.

Calcium can only be found in cow’s milk? Don’t make us laugh!

Now comes the time to break one of the most well–known nutritional myths out there, the one that claims that the ultimate source of calcium is cow’s milk. We want to make it very clear: plant–based calcium sources are not scarce (just take a quick look at our calcium sources poster and see for yourself!) and as you’ll soon see they are not that hard to come by either. 

For example, you may already know that Tahini (sesame paste) is a great source for calcium (especially tahini made from whole sesame seeds). Flax seeds and green vegetables such as broccoli and green beans are too. You can also find a handsome amount of calcium in soy milk and tofu (which in many cases are fortified with even more calcium). 

Today, though, we are not here to tell you about the obvious sources of calcium. We’re here to fortify your knowledge with some very common but less talked-about vegan calcium sources, ones that might even surprise you! Later on, we’ll also tell you a little bit about ways to improve the absorption of said calcium (it’s important so don’t skip that part!).

A pistachio shopping for leafy greens

Plant-based calcium sources that you might have missed:

White beans:

When you think about white beans, or about legumes in general for that matter, usually the first thing that’ll pop into your head nutrition–wise will be protein, right? Iron, maybe. So you might be surprised to learn that white beans are also a great source for calcium! 

In fact, white beans contain almost the same amount of calcium that can be found in cow’s milk: 100 ml of milk contain 100 mg of calcium, while 100 grams of white beans will contain around 60-90 mg of the precious mineral.  Pretty amazing, huh?

To get the most out of your beans (and legumes in general) it is very recommended to soak, sprout, and cook them—this way you will be greatly enhancing your body’s ability to absorb the calcium and other nutrients as well. You can find some helpful tips about soaking and sprouting here.

After you’re done with all that sprouting: there are numerous delicious ways to eat white beans! You can make a comforting soup, turn them into a stew and serve with rice, grind them into a delicious spread or just throw them in your salad as a topping. Either way, you’ll be benefiting greatly from this marvelous legume. 


This delicious citrus fruit is just filled to the brim with goodness! An average orange (about 140g) will contain around 60 mg of calcium, which is already a lot, but that’s not all! Oranges also contain a high amount of vitamin C, which upgrades the absorption abilities of all this precious calcium in your body. 

By the way, vitamin C helps with the absorption of other nutrients as well (such as iron and zinc) so adding some fresh oranges, kiwis or strawberries to your meal will not only make it more delicious and full of color, but also healthier! 


Or in its other, less catchy name: Vital wheat gluten, is a wonderful source for calcium. Seitan is actually a protein made of wheat and is considered to be a staple food in various cuisines around the world. It’s one of the best plant-based sources of protein, but also packs a nice amount of other nutrients, including 142 mg of calcium for just a 100g of seitan

It is also very low–fat and contains some of that precious dietary fiber. Seitan is also a very versatile ingredient, there’s pretty much endless ways to prepare it: You can marinate it, stir–fry it, bake it or BBQ it, pretty much anything you would do with tofu. Plus—it’s fairly easy to make your own seitan at home!

A pac-man pistachio inside a bone

Some tips for healthy bones:

Consuming large amounts of calcium is nice and all, but there are many different things affecting your calcium absorption and your bone health. Here are some simple tips to help you make sure you’re keeping your bones nice and strong:

  • It is recommended to make sure you consume about 600-800 mg of calcium from different sources all throughout the day. Don’t try to consume it all at once, but rather try to have one very calcium–rich meal once a day and then smaller portions with your other meals. If you’re keeping a well balanced, colorful diet with many different sources of nutrients, your calcium intake should be fine. You should always consult your doctor or a verified nutritionist before taking any supplements, and having your blood checked routinely is of course also necessary. 
  • It may sound like a cliché but it is extremely important to include fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. They will help you with the absorption of nutrients. For calcium absorption, you should make sure to consume especially green leafy vegetables and green vegetables in general.
  • If you like to drink coffee, tea or other beverages containing caffeine (pay attention to those sodas), try to separate them from your meals. The antioxidants in the caffeine will interrupt the absorption of calcium and other nutrients, so it's better to wait at least half an hour (preferably even more) before and after having a meal.
  • Protein. Wait, what? Yes, protein! Our bones contain not only calcium but also a high amount of protein. Not consuming enough protein for a long stretch of time might lead to depletion of bone mass, just like with calcium. So make sure you keep an eye on your protein intake!
  • According to some research, physical activity might be even more important to your bone health than calcium! We don’t need to tell you about the many advantages of keeping in shape, right? So now you have even one more reason to exercise, yay!
  • This would also be the perfect time to tell you that smoking is bad for your bones. Shocking, we know.
  • Last but not least: You should pay attention to the plant–sourced vitamin D levels in your blood. This important vitamin is crucial for your body’s ability to absorb calcium and store it in your bones. Make sure your vitamin D levels are in the healthy range. 

Looking for even more plant–based calcium sources? Here you will find a free printable poster! 

If that’s not enough, you can find tons of other ideas, tips and general info about how to go plant–based—the healthy, easy and happy way, right here in the Simple Happy Kitchen book

Plus, if you’re into some wacky, funny, original and sometimes even educational vegan merch—we got you covered :)

This post was written with the aid of a verified nutritionist.

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