How do you get your calcium if you are a vegan? You have to be a bit more creative and use vegetables, beans and seeds rather than just drinking a glass of milk.

Kale, turnip greens, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard, lettuces, rhubarb, spinach, dandelion greens, artichokes, broccoli and other dark green vegetables are all excellent sources of calcium.

Almonds contain more calcium than other nuts. Most beans are fair sources of calcium, as is soy milk and tofu. Some fruits with good calcium levels include figs, papaya and raisins. Sesame seeds and tahini are very high in calcium.

Other non-dairy sources of calcium include raw parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, raw Spanish peanuts, corn, wheat, brown rice,oats and pumpkin seeds. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain that contains as much calcium as an entire quart of milk.

The U.S. daily recommended intake of calcium is between 800mg and 1,200mg. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends only 400-500 milligrams of daily calcium. If you eat one cup of beans, four tablespoons of tahini and five figs you will have gotten over 500 mg of calcium.

Non-dairy sources of calcium are usually good sources of fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and even protein. Plant-based proteins are more alkaline than animal proteins. Meat and milk are very acidic sources of protein and actually cause the body to leech calcium from the bones in order to neutralize the acid.

© 2010 Melinda Coker

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