Calcium helps maintain healthy bones and strong teeth and lower the risk of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and more. It also prevents blood clotting, promotes heartbeat regulation, and improves nervous system function. But if you are going vegetarian, you might worry about where to get your fill of calcium, especially if you think that you mostly get it from dairy products. The good news is that there are plenty of vegetables that are loaded in calcium, too. You just have to know what they are and ensure that they make it your daily diet.
Here are 12 of the calcium-rich veggies that you should introduce more and more into your meals:
1. Collard greens
A cup of boiled collard greens contains 357 mg of calcium, easily making it a powerhouse of sorts. You can even buy it frozen then cook it later. It will still be rich in calcium, making it a must-have if you want to boost your intake of this particular nutrient.
2. Turnip greens
If you boil and drain a cup of turnip greens, you will get 249 mg of calcium. Even if your taste buds do not really agree with eating turnips, this will not be much of a problem with turnip greens, considered the tastiest of the turnip family.
Boil edamame and enjoy one cup of these soybeans so you will get 261 mg of calcium. This is already a quarter of your daily calcium requirement. You can serve this as an appetizer in the same way sushi restaurants use it.
If this is one of the vegetables that are new to you, don’t worry. You are not alone in that regard because nopales, also called cactus paddles, is not exactly that common. A cup of this cooked cactus provides 244 mg of calcium.
5. Mustard greens
These calcium-loaded mustard greens best bring out their nutrients when you slow cook them. They are tasty and tender with a cup providing you with 165 mg of calcium.
A cup of boiled kale contains 179 mg of calcium. You might want to include it in a salad with mango, added with creamy ginger dressing.
7. Dandelion greens
These are bitter vegetables, but you can make them less so by blanching them in hot water for 1 minute, then draining and rinsing them with cold water right after. You can sauté and stir fry them, with each up giving you 147 mg of calcium.
8. Baby bok choy
There are so many ways to prepare this veggie. You can stir fry, braise, or slice them for a fresh salad. Each cup of bok choy contains 158 mg of calcium. For a nutritionally loaded salad, you can chop this veggie up and toss it with quinoa, grated carrots, ground flaxseed, and soy sauce.
9. Snow peas
If you want a lunch box full of vegetables, don’t forget to put stir-fried snow peas in it. One cup of this veggie can give you 150 mg of calcium.
10. Sweet potatoes
You can prepare sweet potatoes as fries or roast it for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. A cup of this vegetable contains 89 mg of calcium.