Calcium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and teeth and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis.
Green smoothies are naturally good sources of calcium. But maybe you want your green smoothies to be a fantastic source of calcium!
If you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or concerned about the health controversy of consuming dairy products, there are easy ways to boost the calcium content of your green smoothies.
Yes, it is totally possible to make a green smoothie with more calcium than a glass of milk! It’s easy peasy if you follow these tips:
Use Calcium Rich Leafy Greens Such As Dandelion, Kale, & Bok Choy
So you want more calcium in your blends? Then grab the right leafy greens!
Spinach is good and all, but compared to kale, dandelion greens, and bok choy, spinach is a bit of a wimp in the mineral department.
Here’s the calcium breakdown of these leafy greens:
- Dandelion Greens: 206 mg (20% RDA) per 2 cups (110 grams), chopped
- Kale: 181 mg (18% RDA) per two cups (134 grams),chopped
- Bok Choy/Pak Choi: 147 mg (14% RDA) per two cups (140 grams), shredded
- Italian Parsley: 83 mg (8% RDA) per one cup (60 grams), chopped
- Spinach: 60-80 mg (6-8% RDA) per two cups (60 grams), chopped
Basically, you can more than double the calcium content of your green smoothies by switching to kale or dandelion greens.
Kale and dandelion greens are much more bitter than spinach. Bitter is good, it means you’re getting more nutrition. But this doesn’t mean that your green smoothie has to be bitter!
When using dandelion greens, kale, and bok choy in a smoothie, be sure to use sweet fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapple, and oranges.
You might need to gradually introduce these high-mineral greens if you have never used them before.
Start by using one cup spinach and one cup kale, and then gradually work your way up to two cups kale. You’ll get used to the flavor and come to enjoy it.
As always, I highly recommend purchasing only organic leafy greens. Kale can be found at some grocery stores and is usually quite affordable, even when organic. I can get large bunches of organic kale for $2.99 each.
A quick note on spinach. If you ever compare the nutrition information of frozen spinach vs. raw spinach, you’ll notice that one cup of frozen spinach contains about 24% of your daily value of calcium versus one cup of raw spinach only containing 4% DV.
Look at the nutrition label a little closer and you will see that one cup of tightly-packed, frozen spinach is equivalent in weight to five cups of raw spinach, so while you might be boosting the calcium content of your green smoothies by using frozen greens, you’ll certainly feel like you are drinking liquid spinach which is not pleasant if you ask me!
Use Calcium Rich Fruits
You never think of fruits as a source of calcium, but the right fruits can significantly boost the calcium content of your green smoothies.
Just about every fruit and vegetable has some calcium, but certain fruits have more and can help boost your green smoothies calcium content into the 30% range. They include:
- Orange: 6% RDA in one navel orange
- Figs: 4% RDA in two)
- Papaya: 3% RDA in one cup (140 grams), cubed
- Kiwifruit: 2% RDA)
While fruit doesn’t provide a significant source of calcium compared to leafy greens, they boost the overall calcium content of your greens smoothie.
For example, a green smoothie made with one banana, one navel orange, and two cups of kale provides up to 25% of your daily value of calcium (the banana provides 1%).
Use Calcium Rich Vegetables
Yep, vegetables have calcium too. I already mentioned dark, leafy greens like dandelion, kale, bok choy, and spinach. However, there are some other smoothie-ready veggies that add calcium to your blends.
- Cucumber: 5% RDA in an 8-inch cucumber.
- Celery: 2% RDA per medium, 7-inch long stalk
- Carrot: 2% RDA per medium carrot
Celery helps cut the sweetness of your green smoothie with natural, healthy sodium. I don not recommend using more than one or two stalks in a recipe, though.
Use Calcium-Fortified Beverages As Your Liquid
Calcium-fortified plant milks (like almond, coconut, soy) will add ample calcium to your green smoothies.
Check the label, but typically, an 8-ounce serving has anywhere from 15-45% RDA of calcium.
Be sure to ONLY use unsweetened plant milks in your green smoothies, otherwise you’re adding sugars to an otherwise healthy food.
Learn more about the different non-dairy, plant-based milk options, and how they differ.
When I started making green smoothies, I used calcium-fortified orange juice. I no longer use fruit juice in my green smoothies because it makes them too sweet, and adds excess sugar without the healthy fiber.
Use Young, Thai Coconut
I LOVE using fresh, young coconut in my green smoothies. They are a super source of calcium!
Yes, they are a pain to open but oh-so-worth it. And no, I’m not talking about the brown, hairy coconuts you see in your supermarket. Instead, go for the white, cone-topped Thai coconuts (the ones wrapped in plastic wrap). If you’re lucky, you’ll have access to young green coconuts!
Young (green or Thai) coconuts taste great – so much better than bottled coconut water that you find in the store. It’s delicious, and the coconut meat is soft and slightly crunchy. You can blend that up too!
Coconut has an amazing array of health benefits and nutrition. It’s a great source of electrolytes. It’s also an excellent source of calcium providing up to 17% RDA per coconut (meat and water) depending on the size and maturity of the coconut.
Young coconuts are usually found in some health food stores, Asian, and Latino markets. The calcium content of a young coconut can vary greatly depending on size and a variety of factors, so you cannot reliably be sure that every young coconut you use will contain a full 17% DV of calcium like you can with other foods.
A super-easy way to get more calcium in your green smoothies is by using moringa powder. Moringa is an edible, leafy tree that produces leaves that are exceptionally rich in calcium and iron. It is typically sold as a powdered supplement.
A 10-gram serving of moringa powder provides around 15% RDA of calcium! It’s an easy way to dramatically boost calcium in your green smoothie.
You can find moringa powder at health food stores, or purchase it online. I get Kuli Kuli brand moringa powder through Amazon.com.
Chia Seeds & Flaxseed
Adding two tablespoons of chia seeds to your green smoothies not only gives you a slight calcium boost, but provides all of your omega-3s for the day!
I recommend soaking chia seeds in water for 5 minutes, or until they gel up before blending them.
Read more about the health benefits of chia seeds, and how to use them in a green smoothie.
Flaxseed is also gives a slight boost of calcium to your green smoothies. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed provides 4% RDA of calcium.
As you can see, it is easy to make a green smoothie that has way more calcium than a glass of milk. Plus, you’ll get lots of iron, as well as other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!