These Non-Dairy Foods Keep Your Bones Strong

Don’t eat dairy? These foods can supply the calcium your bones need.

The food you eat can affect your bones. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D help maintain bone health and may prevent osteoporosis. When it comes to calcium-rich foods, the most obvious choices are dairy-based foods and beverages such as milk, yogurt and cheese. But consuming dairy is not an option for everyone.

Whether you are lactose-intolerant, vegan or choose not to eat or drink dairy products for other reasons, you can still get the calcium you need by including these good-for-your-bones foods in your diet. Many contain calcium, as well as other important nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K.

Vegetables

These dark leafy greens contain calcium, and other bone-boosting vitamins and minerals:

  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy

Fish

When it comes to calcium, canned varieties of these are best:

  • Canned Salmon
  • Canned Sardines

Nuts and Beans

In addition to calcium, you’ll get some protein from these which also helps strengthen bones:

  • Almonds
  • Chick peas

Fortified Foods and Beverages

Calcium and Vitamin D are sometimes added to these foods:

  • Orange Juice
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Tofu

The body absorbs calcium more efficiently with the help of vitamin D, which can be found in fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified foods. Vitamin D is also produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. 

If you eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of dairy, fruits, vegetables, fish and fortified foods, you should get the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your bones healthy. Even if you don’t eat dairy, you may get enough calcium in your diet by consuming a variety of these calcium-rich foods. But if you find you’re not getting enough, you may need to take a multivitamin or supplement.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 17, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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