Are you lactose intolerant?
Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome?
Do you have a cow’s milk allergy?
Do you follow a vegan diet?
Or maybe you just don’t like dairy?
Going dairy free doesn’t mean you’re unable to meet your calcium requirements.
Dairy foods are a rich source of calcium, a mineral that is important for healthy bones and teeth. It also helps with proper functioning of nerves and muscles in the body. When your diet lacks enough calcium, your body will then use the calcium stored in the bones which then affects your bone health. Over time, low calcium levels can lead to thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), increasing the risk of fractures.
So what are the alternatives to eat if you don’t eat dairy?
We have listed some calcium rich dairy alternatives below:
- Fortified soy milk and tofu
- Fortified cereals
- Sesame seeds/tahini
- Chia seeds
- Soy beans
- Soy yoghurt and soy cheese
- Almonds and brazil nuts
- Fish with bones (sardines and salmon)
- Green leafy vegetables included rocket, watercress, kale, broccoli and cabbage
Some foods such as spinach are high in calcium, however contain a substance called “oxalate” which reduces calcium absorption. It’s therefore better to choose alternative green leafy vegetables when trying to boost your calcium. Low levels of vitamin D can also affect your calcium absorption, so be sure to get this checked.