How Do Vegan Get Calcium?

Calcium is one of the body’s most essential nutrients. It’s often most celebrated for its ability to build strong bones and teeth, but it’s also essential for blood clotting, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and even blood pressure regulation. 

How Do Vegan Get Calcium?

If you still believe the only way to get calcium is through dairy or supplements, you’re wrong.

There are many other ways to get your daily dose of the good stuff, and vegans make the most of plant-based calcium sources to keep themselves in check. 

Want to limit your dairy intake while still keeping yourself strong? Here’s how vegans get calcium. 

What Is Calcium? 

Calcium is a mineral usually associated with strong bones and teeth. Although milk, cheese, and other dairy products are the most commonly consumed sources of calcium, it can also be obtained through plant-based sources. 

Did you know that almost 99% of the calcium in the human body can be found in the teeth and bones? This makes calcium an essential vitamin for all humans, but particularly for children and those going through menopause. 

Calcium contributes to the development of strong bones in children, and when we stop growing, this essential mineral continues to maintain strong bones and slows down the loss of bone density, especially in menopausal women, who are at risk of losing their bone density at a much faster rate than younger people. 

How Much Calcium Do We Need? 

To keep yourself fit and strong, you’ll need just the right amount of calcium. Consuming either too little or too much can do more harm than good, so it’s important to find the sweet spot.

So, exactly how much calcium should you be aiming for? 

If you think you’ve seen conflicting information, you’re not wrong. In the U.S., between 1000-1200 mg a day is the suggested amount. However, other areas promote between 500-700 mg.

Ideally, adults should be aiming for between 800-1000 mg per day to be safe, and children between 4-8 years old will need the same. Children between the ages of 9-18 will need around 1300 mg of calcium to promote strong bones. 

To make the most of your calcium, you’ll also need to ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, which is why you’ll see many foods and breakfast cereals (including milk and juice) fortified with Vitamin D. The daily recommended intake of Vitamin D is between 10-20 micrograms. 

Where Do Vegans Get Calcium From? 

No, not ALL vegans are calcium deficient. There are plenty of other non-dairy foods (and supplements) out there that can boost your calcium intake, and get you to the recommended intake.

However, if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, you’ll probably find it much harder. Some of the most common vegan sources of calcium include: 

Nuts And Seeds 

Nuts and seeds are a staple in vegan diets, and for good reason. Nuts and seeds are bursting with nutrients, one of the most common being calcium. Almonds are considered the holy grail and contain approximately 75 mg per serving.

If almonds aren’t to your taste, you can also dive into some hazelnuts. Hazelnuts contain around 56 mg of calcium per serving, making them a popular choice for vegans. 

How Do Vegan Get Calcium?


Beans are another great source of calcium. Chickpeas, white beans, and kidney beans reign supreme, though.

White beans (aka navy beans) contain a massive 132 milligrams of calcium per cup, with kidney beans coming in at 93 mg, and chickpeas at 99mg.

If you incorporate either one of these into your diet, you’ll be well on your way to getting enough calcium. 

Leafy Greens 

We’re always being told to eat our greens. The benefits of consuming leafy greens are abundant, and if you’re trying to up your calcium intake, you better start getting on it!

Kale and bok choy are some of the most popular options, however, they don’t contain as much calcium as the humble broccoli. Just over one cup of broccoli can give you as much as 112 mg of calcium! 


Soy is also rich in calcium, but there’s a catch – it should be minimally processed. By this, we mean tofu, tempeh, and edamame.

Tofu comes out on top, though, with the average three-ounce serving containing around 10% of your recommended daily intake! Tempeh will give you around 6%, with edamame much the same. 

If you’re a soy milk fan, you’re in luck. Soy milk naturally contains calcium, and it’s also fortified with a little extra, so you can get up to a third of your daily intake in just one cup. 

Other popular sources of calcium can include: 

  • Oranges (48-65mg)
  • Blackcurrants (65mg) 
  • Wakame seaweed (126mg) 
  • Amaranth (250g) 
  • Tahini (130mg) 
  • Brazil nuts (35g) 

Should Vegans Take Calcium Supplements? 

If your calcium intake is insufficient, it might be worth taking supplements. Insufficient amounts of calcium can lead to weak and brittle bones, and women (especially those going through menopause) are advised to take supplements.

If you’re a vegan, too, it’s definitely a wise idea. 

The amount of calcium in each supplement may vary. For example, multivitamins and mineral supplements can contain anywhere between 200-3000g, while individual calcium supplements can be anywhere between 600 mg-1500 mg.

Consider how much calcium you need before taking supplements, or talk to your doctor for more advice. 

The Bottom Line 

Calcium isn’t just essential for bone health. It’s also good for maintaining healthy blood pressure and even protecting against diabetes and cancer.

Although vegans may have a harder time getting calcium than those who eat dairy, there are plenty of plant-based calcium sources out there.

You can even add fortified drinks, cereals, and supplements to boost your calcium intake and reach the recommended daily amount. 

If you’re trying to consume more plant-based sources of calcium, we’d recommend adding more leafy greens, soy, nuts, seeds, and fortified foods to your diet.

Even if you’re not vegan, doing so can avoid the risk of any of the unwanted risks of dairy products, and keep you fit and strong! 

Jenna Priestly
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