Veganism and the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle have been around for generations, but it is becoming wildly popular in recent years.
Unfortunately, a plant-only diet lacks certain important vitamins and minerals that you need to survive, including calcium.
Luckily, there are many healthy and effective vegan sources of calcium that you should incorporate into your diet to get the nutrients you need.
Why is veganism so popular?
A large number of cultures worldwide have developed recipes, restaurants, and other traditions surrounding veganism, and there is a growing community of people who advocate for a vegan lifestyle.
This includes social media influencers who show their followers the benefits of going vegan and how to get delicious, healthy plan-based foods without eating meat.
Additionally, even meat lovers recognize the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle and sometimes choose to focus on plant-based eating for a month (or other short periods of time) to realize the short-term benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
When we transition from omnivore to herbivore, our bodies undergo a variety of changes, and we often struggle to maintain enough calcium to keep our bones and teeth strong and our bodies healthy.
Therefore, knowing the best vegan sources of calcium is essential for our health.
Why is calcium so important?
Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. It is primarily found in our bone tissue, but it is also present in our blood and muscles.
One of its most important function is the prevention of osteoporosis, which is a serious health condition characterized by bone loss that can lead to fractures, shrinkage, and other health conditions.
Additionally, calcium is proven to be effective in fighting cardiovascular disease, managing blood pressure, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, and preventing colorectal cancer.
It is also effective in lowering the risk of developing kidney stones, maintaining a healthy weight, and treating preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables generally contain less calcium than milk, seafood, and other calcium-rich foods.
Also, plants are often high in oxalic and phytic acid, both of which can decrease your body’s calcium absorption.
Therefore, it is very important for vegans to monitor their calcium intake due to the increased risk of low calcium.
Best vegan sources of calcium
Vegans are clearly not interested in some of the best sources of calcium, including dairy products, which are extracted from cows, and seafood.
Therefore, vegans focus on the wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get enough vegan calcium.
A few of the fruits and vegetables that are high in calcium include:
- Collard greens
- Almond milk
- Sliced bread
Delicious vegan calcium recipes
One of the biggest concerns about a vegan lifestyle is the lack of variety of foods. However, there are many delicious and calcium-rich vegan recipes to help you maintain a balanced diet with plant-based foods.
Lemon One Pot Pasta. Combined 8 ounces of spaghetti noodles, 2.25 cups of vegetable broth, two leeks, 1 cup of chickpeas, juice from a large squeezed lemon, 2.5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, ½ tablespoon of garlic powder, ½ tablespoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard into a large sauce pan or pot. Bring into a boil, and then reduce heat.
Cook for about 10 minutes, and then add ½ cup of frozen peas and a large handful of spinach. Top with vegan parmesan to taste.
No-bake almond butter energy bites. Simply combine rolled oats, oil-free almond butter, and pitted dates in a food processor. Blend them together, and then roll them into a ball. Place them in a freezer to get firm.
Green bean casserole. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and boil a large pot of water with salt. Add 1 pound of green beans (rinsed and cut), and then cook for 5 minutes. Drain the green beans and remove them from the heat.
Separately, in a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 medium shallot, and 2 cloves of minced garlic with salt and pepper.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then add 1 cup of chopped mushrooms. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, add in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, whisk to coat the vegetables, and cook for 1 minute.
Add ¾ cup of vegetable broth, 1 cup of almond milk, salt, and pepper, whisk, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, and then remove from heat.
Add ½ cup of fried onions and the cooked green beans. Top the mixture with the remaining fried onions.
Make sure you get enough. Every day.
It is recommended that adults up to age 50 consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
However, the recommended amount increases to 1,200 mg per day for women over age 50 and 1,200 mg per day for men over age 70.
A healthy diet that includes vegan sources of calcium can accomplish this goal relatively easily.
For instance, a combination of one cup of orange juice, a cup of soy milk, a cup of kale, and a cup of firm tofu will satisfy the daily recommended amount.
However, you should consider consuming a bit more than the recommended amount since vegan-based diets are not known for their calcium absorption.
If you feel that you will not consume enough calcium through your diet, you should consider taking a calcium supplement.
However, you don’t need to take a full 1,000 mg of calcium all at once because your body’s absorption of calcium will decrease throughout the day.
Therefore, you might consider taking 500 mg of calcium in the morning and the other 500 mg of calcium in the evenings.
You can also take your calcium with Vitamin D supplements, or get your vitamin D naturally by maintaining an active lifestyle with plenty of sunlight, as Vitamin D is known to improve calcium absorption.
Watch out for these foods
You can decrease the amount of calcium that your body retains by having too much caffeine and alcohol and your system.
Additionally, certain fruits and vegetables can accelerate your calcium loss with your body waste, so it is important to make sure that your diet is rich in calcium in order to avoid a calcium deficiency.