If you're looking to up your calcium intake, it doesn't need to only be about yogurt and cheese, you know

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7 surprising dairy-free sources of calcium (okra)

Via: Sainsbury's

We've been told since the dawn of time that to get loads of calcium, we need to be eating all the milk, cheese and yogurt we can handle. But what if you're lactose intolerant? Or vegan? Or just don't like dairy products? 

 

For adults, the official line is that we should include 700mg of calcium into our diets each day. But outside of the white stuff, there's actually loads of calcium-rich ingredients to munch on. You just never knew it.

 

Move over semi-skimmed. Here's our pick of the best:

 

1. Brown bread

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brown bread

Via: Sainsbury's

Two slices (72g) has 134mg calcium, which is 19 per cent of your daily requirement.

 

Thought brown bread was just good for making sandwiches or toast? Think again. This savoury cheese and ham bread pudding takes little more than half an hour and is just as good for breakfast as it is for dinner.

 

2. Dried figs

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Dired figs

Via: Sainsbury's

Two dried figs (40g) have 92mg calcium, which is 13 per cent of your daily requirement. 

 

Figs aren't just a fragrant autumnal fruit. While they're great fresh and add a bit of class to any dish, dried figs are the perfect little snack to get your calcium levels up. Give this dried fig, banana and manuka honey porridge a whirl for breakfast.

 

3. Curly kale

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Curly kale

Via: Sainsbury's

Four heaped tablespoons (80g) of cooked kale has 120mg calcium, 17 per cent of your daily requirement.

 

Sure, it's the superfood everyone's been banging on about for ages. But not without good reason, as this leafy green is a powerhouse for vitamins and minerals. This side dish of kale with onion and lemon is the perfect accompaniment to any main course.

 

4. Sardines

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Sardines

Via: Sainsbury's

Half a tin (50g) of sardines in brine has 340g calcium, 49 per cent of your daily requirement.

 

Who knew sardines were so jammed full of calcium? Try making them into a pate and serving on a jacket potato. All that goodness and not a cow in sight...

 

5. Spinach

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Spinach

Via: Sainsbury's

One bowl (80g) of raw, mature spinach has 136mg calcium, 19 per cent of your daily requirement. 

 

Whether you eat it in a salad or add to a curry, we should really all be eating more of Popeye's greens – especially as it's a hero in the calcium department. Try it out in these tasty spinach and ricotta lasagne roll-ups.

 

6. Sesame seeds

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Sesame seeds

Via: Sainsbury's

One tablespoon (12g) has 80mg calcium, 11 per cent of your daily requirement.

 

There's not a lot of food that doesn't taste better with some of these little seeds sprinkled on top. And just a tablespoon will charge you up with a good helping of calcium too. Toast the seeds to bring out their flavour and pair with broccoli for a healthy side dish.

 

7. Okra

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Okra

Via: Sainsbury's

One portion (80g) of boiled okra has 96mg of calcium, 14 per cent of your daily requirement. 

 

This should be your new favourite vegetable. Okra (or 'ladies fingers') are most at home in a curry or gumbo (a meat and shellfish Louisiana stew). Stir them into this aubergine, okra and new potato curry or steam until tender and serve as a veggie side.

 

Nutritional data taken from the British Nutrition Foundation (last reviewed September 2014). Dairy products are the main source of calcium in a UK diet. Please note this article has been produced for information purposes only and should not be viewed as a replacement for any kind of nutritional advice.