With lack of dairy products which comes from a cow, is it still possible to have enough calcium in your diet?

  • 6
    It's interesting when asked questions like these, to see that people sometimes associate the nutrients often as though they only exist in the foods that were advertised to contain them. Milk=calcium, meat=protein etc, when in fact leafy greens contain calcium, for example.
    – David S
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


According to this Medscape article, vegans and vegetarians children can obtain calcium from various sources such as: fortified soy formulas, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, and various other calcium-fortified foods

Dairy foods are a natural source of calcium for vegetarians and nonvegetarians. Vegans can consume fortified soy formulas, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, and various other calcium-fortified foods. Eating these foods in the age-appropriate amounts will ensure adequate calcium intake (Weaver & Plawecki, 1994). For infants, it is important to note that commercial soy milk should not be introduced before the end of the first year because of the low bioavailability of iron and zinc from soy (Sandstrom, Kivisto, & Cederblad, 1987).

Also, according to Wikipedia, Calcium can also be found from the following: broccoli, bok choy, and kale:

The calcium found in broccoli, bok choy, and kale have also been found to have calcium that is well absorbed in the body.[86][87][89] Though the calcium content per serving is lower in these vegetables than a glass of milk, the absorption of the calcium into the body is higher.[87][89] Other foods that contain calcium include calcium-set tofu, blackstrap molasses, turnip greens, mustard greens, soybeans, tempeh, almonds, okra, dried figs, and tahini.[86][88] Though calcium can be found in Spinach, swiss chard, beans and beet greens, they are generally not considered to be a good source since the calcium binds to oxalic acid and is poorly absorbed into the body.

So, a vegetarian has several sources of obtaining Calcium. Generally speaking, a vegetarian can obtain all required nutrients, if proper died is planned:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada have stated that at all stages of life, a properly planned vegetarian diet is "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases"

  • That last statement might be "vegetarian", not "vegan". The introduction to the position paper says, "A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl." Dairy products are conventionally recommended as a source of calcium.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 16:19

There are many sources of calcium that come from vegan sources. Soy (soy milk and tofu), oranges, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and beans all contain good sources of calcium, for example. (1,2)

Just eat a variety of fruits, veggies, leafy greens, nuts, etc. and you'll be fine!

1- https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium-sources/

2- https://www.unce.unr.edu/programs/sites/calcium/files/pdf/PlantBasedCalciumRichFoods.pdf

  • 1
    First sentence seems unrelated to question and rest of answer.
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 20:40

I was personally concerned about this because as a vegetarian I got a bone density test a health fair that suggested low bone density: -1.5 on the bone mass scale of -2.5 to +1.

I increased the amount of calcium-rich leafy greens in my diet like kale, and also added a red mineral algae calcium supplement. I was also shifting my diet from vegetarian towards vegan for different reasons. About 4 or 5 years later I got a DEXA scan which reported that my bone density was reported to be above zero where -1 to to +1 is the normal range.

So even as I was getting older and shifting towards vegan eating, my bone density improved to be above average value of zero.

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