How do I get enough calcium when I go dairy free?

Health and nutrition

A question clients ask me often when I advise them to eliminate dairy for a while is: “How do I get enough calcium when I go dairy free?” We all know (school milk!) milk has a good amount of calcium and calcium is essential for our teeth and bones. But it’s not the only food that contains calcium.

When I work with clients I often recommend removing dairy from their diet. Especially if their gut is not happy, they have allergies or are dealing with inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema, asthma or mental health issues. Then the question is: should I supplement with calcium? Not necessary I think, as we can get plenty calcium from food!

Foods high in calcium

These foods contain a good amount of calcium that is easy to assimilate:

  • Beans – especially when soaked overnight
  • Nuts – especially almonds and Brazil nuts
  • Greens – especially parsley, kale, dandelion greens (add a few from your garden!)
  • Sea vegetables!
  • Sesame seeds and tahini – yum!
  • Tinned salmon and sardines with the fish bones in – eat those too…
  • Soup made with bones – simmered for several hours with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to extract the minerals

Are you absorbing calcium?

When we’re taking a closer look into calcium a different question comes up: how can you make sure you absorb the calcium from your food? Here are some reasons why you may not:

  • Sugar and alcohol affect the balance between calcium and phosphorus in the blood. This causes the phosphorus to drop. And that makes it hard for the body to absorb calcium!
  • If you eat a diet high in protein that has an acidic effect on the blood. Eating larger amounts of protein is not necessarily bad – but you need to eat a good amount of alkalinising vegetables and fruit to create more balance.

Vitamin K2

A vitamin that helps to use the calcium in the right places in K2. Many fruits and vegetables – especially the dark leafy greens and broccoli – provide vitamin K2. And K2 helps your body to absorb and use the calcium for your bones – instead of depositing it in your arteries!

Enough calcium when you go dairy free!

So the conclusion is that you don’t need to worry about calcium when you go off dairy… as long as you focus on eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables. Have a look at the list above and make sure to enjoy tose every day.

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