FoodBeyond dairy: exploring plant-based sources of calcium for stronger bones and teeth

Beyond dairy: exploring plant-based sources of calcium for stronger bones and teeth

They have significantly more calcium than milk. Put it on the shopping list if you want to have healthy and strong bones.
They have significantly more calcium than milk. Put it on the shopping list if you want to have healthy and strong bones.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Olga Yastremska, New Africa, Africa Studio

6:18 AM EST, February 3, 2024, updated: 4:25 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Milk isn't the only calcium provider! If you follow a vegan diet or if you're allergic to cow's milk protein, it doesn't necessarily equate to lacking this vital element. Several plant-based foods are excellent sources of calcium. However, it's important to note that not all of them are equally absorbable. Let's explore plant-based alternatives that could replace traditional calcium sources.

Sesame: A treasure trove of calcium and other nutrients

Sesame seeds are rich in calcium. There is as much as 975 mg of this mineral in 3.53 oz of sesame seeds, a quantity that significantly surpasses the calcium content in milk (around 120 mg/3.53 oz). However, it's key to note that the bioavailability or absorbability of calcium from sesame seeds is lower than that from milk, at about 20 percent. This means that the body absorbs approximately 195 mg of calcium from 3.53 oz of sesame seeds.

Even though calcium's absorbability from sesame seeds is lesser than from milk, this doesn't mean you should overlook them. Sesame seeds are not only a rich source of calcium, but they also provide other valuable nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins: E, B1, B6, B9,
  • Minerals: magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus,
  • Fiber,
  • Unsaturated fatty acids.

The health benefits of sesame seeds are many, such as:

  • Strengthens bones and teeth,
  • Prevents osteoporosis,
  • Supports the circulatory system,
  • Lowers cholesterol levels,
  • Regulates blood sugar levels,
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory,
  • Protects against cancer,
  • Assists with weight loss.

Incorporating sesame into your diet?

Sesame seeds are a versatile food item and can be incorporated into several dishes. They're excellent to add to:

  • Salads,
  • Yogurts,
  • Oatmeal,
  • Bread,
  • Cakes and desserts,
  • Oriental cuisine dishes.

You can also grind sesame seeds into tahini paste, an essential ingredient for hummus, salad dressings, and desserts.

Don't ignore other sources of calcium

Besides sesame seeds, numerous plant-based foods are calcium-rich. Some of these include:

  • Chia seeds (636 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz),
  • Almonds (269 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz),
  • Saffron (721 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz),
  • Tofu (350 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz),
  • Broccoli (47 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz),
  • Cabbage (40 mg of calcium in 3.53 oz).

Consuming a diverse collection of plant-based foods is the best way to provide your body with all essential nutrients, including calcium. Adding sesame seeds to your diet can significantly contribute to fortifying your bones and teeth.

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