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    Ask the Chef - Calcium

    By Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef | April 13, 2014

    Q: I recently ditched dairy products. What are some good ways to get calcium?

    Many health-conscious consumers decide to cut dairy from their diets for a variety of reasons: perhaps you're concerned about indigestion, lactose intolerance, allergies, pH balance and inflammation, cholesterol, or antibiotics and hormones in the mass production of milk. Whatever the reason, take comfort in the fact that you don't need dairy products to get your daily dose of calcium. In fact, plant-based calcium sources are extremely abundant! Here are a few simple and delicious ways to get calcium in your diet the plant-powered way:

    Chia Seeds: As one of our favorite superfood powerhouses, just a single ounce of chia seeds contains approximately 179 milligrams of calcium - that's at least 10% of your recommended calcium intake! By mixing chia seeds in smoothies, yogurt (try the wonderful dairy free varieties made from coconut or almond!), oatmeal, and granola, you'll be well on your way to stronger teeth and bones. For a sweet and tangy dessert, try our Chia Pudding with Cranberry and Pomegranate.

    Sesame Seeds: Another calcium-rich seed is the sesame seed. One tablespoon alone of sesame seeds contains approximately 88 milligrams of calcium, which is about 9% of your daily value. Keep in mind that sesame seeds retain more natural calcium when the hulls remain intact. Try mixing sesame seeds in salad dressings, hummus, or sprinkled on vegetable and bean dishes for added flavor and crunch.

    Dark Leafy Greens: Some of the very best natural sources of calcium are dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chards, turnip greens, broccoli, and cabbage. One cup of chopped watercress, for example, contains 41 milligrams of calcium, which is 8% of your daily value. Not only do these vegetables boost your calcium intake, but they are packed with lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to fight illness. From salads to green smoothies, getting your greens can be easy, delicious and versatile.

    Mulberries: With a sweet and delicate flavor, mulberries are another good source of calcium, containing about 55 milligram of calcium per cup. Our dried white mulberries are delicious on their own or when added to recipes just like you would with raisins, such as in cereal, trail mix, desserts, and baked goods. For a warm, satisfying breakfast treat, try our Mulberry Scones, which are also made with a half cup of non-daily hemp milk.

    As you can see, a dairy-free diet is more than just a great way to boost your wellness, it's quite the delicious adventure as well. And with so many amazing plant-based superfood options to choose from like these, getting calcium has never been so healthy!