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Is Milk Really Ideal for Bone Health?

leafy greens calcium

Plant-Based Sources of Calcium and Magnesium

When you tell folks that you don’t eat dairy or even that you don’t eat dairy for calcium, they’re probably going to want to know what you eat to keep your bones healthy. Depending on your age, you have different calcium requirements; the average human adult should be getting around 2500mg of calcium per day and between 320 and 420mg of magnesium.

Here are some calcium- and magnesium-rich, plant-based foods:

  • Almonds (1 oz) – 80mg magnesium, 89mg calcium
  • Cashews (1 oz) – 79mg magnesium, 13mg calcium
  • Edamame (1/2 cup, shelled) – 74mg magnesium, 98mg calcium
  • Wheat Bran (1/4 cup) – 89mg magnesium, 10mg calcium
  • Oatmeal (1 cup) – 61 mg magnesium, 99mg calcium
  • Peanut Butter (2 tablespoons) – 49mg magnesium, 14mg calcium
  • Kale (1 cup) – 23mg magnesium, 94mg calcium

Related Reading: Superfood: 10 Tasty Kale Recipes

  • Collard Greens (1 cup) – 38mg magnesium, 266mg calcium
  • Bok Choy (1 cup) – 19mg magnesium, 158mg calcium
  • Cabbage (1 cup) – 136mg magnesium, 427mg calcium
  • Broccoli (1 cup) – 33mg magnesium, 62mg calcium
  • Flax Meal (2 tablespoons) – 110mg magnesium, 71mg calcium
  • Quinoa (1 cup) – 118mg magnesium, 32 mg calcium

Related Reading: Superfood: 10 Quinoa Recipes

  • Firm Tofu (1/2 cup) – 47 mg magnesium, 253mg calcium
  • Wakame (1 cup) – 88 mg magnesium, 120mg calcium
  • Brazil Nuts (1 oz) – 106mg magnesium, 45mg calcium
  • Turnip Greens (1 cup) – 23mg magnesium, 138 mg calcium
  • Swiss Chard (1 cup) – 150mg magnesium, 101mg calcium
  • Black Beans (1 cup) – 120mg magnesium, 46mg calcium
  • Baked Potato (1 large) – 84mg magnesium, 45mg calcium

As you can see, if you’re eating a nice variety of whole grains, nuts, leafy greens, legumes, and even potatoes, chances are your bones are doing just fine. Do you eat dairy to maintain healthy bones? What do you think about the possible downsides to a dairy-rich diet?

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Self Nutrition Data

Read more: Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Osteoporosis, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

81 comments

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6:35AM PDT on Sep 19, 2013

Calcium isn't the only reason to drink milk; it's also a fairly inexpensive source of protein.

2:38AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

Thank you very much Becky. I liked the article. :)

2:28AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

Love clod milk...

8:25AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

I just drink soy milk, but had lots when I was a kid.

1:05AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

I like dairy and believe there are a lot of health benefits. All things in moderation of course. Thanks!

1:02AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

Thanks for the article. I don't overdo it with milk or other dairy products as I believe that moderation is the key to everything we do. It's good to know that there are so many alternative sources of calcium and magnesium.

7:59PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

"The dairy industry pours millions of dollars every year into campaigns like “Got Milk?” to convince consumers that we need several servings of their product every single day to keep our bones healthy."

Honestly, you sound tremendously angry and sour in all of your pro-vegan articles, other than delusional.

12:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Moderation in all things!
I love cheese, and occasionally some real butter. I rarely take milk, but sometimes Greek-style yogurt.
I read the articles, and some of the comments.
Then I try to get my head around all the info and do what works for me and for my family.
But thanks for the list with numbers for non-dairy calcium and magnesium that should definitely help to inform my choices.

10:36AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

Cow's milk is for baby cows. Milk is for babies. I'm a grown-up so I drink almond milk. I actually gave up all dairy together recently. The nondairy alternatives are much better. Also I have read a lot of stuff of dairy causing osteoporosis in people.

8:31AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

I don't drink milk, makes me feel sluggish. Drink soya instead.Thanks for the info.

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