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Vegan Calcium Sources and Why They’re Important

Vegan Calcium Sources and Why They’re Important hero image

Certain vitamins and minerals may be slightly harder to incorporate into a vegan diet such as calcium, so it’s important to understand how to still consume a healthy amount through alternative vegan calcium sources. Luckily this essential nutrient can be found in calcium rich foods such as vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and soy products. This article will tell you everything there is to know about calcium and why it’s important to incorporate it into a vegan diet.

What is calcium?

Calcium is a mineral your body needs to remain healthy. It’s commonly known that calcium is crucial for healthy bones and teeth but its benefits do not stop there. Vital for healthy muscle contraction and functioning nervous system, this mineral, along with other related vitamins including Potassium and Magnesium ensure that your body remains healthy.

How much calcium per day?

According to the NHS site, calcium intake for people between the ages of 19 – 64 should be around 700mg per day. Although this may seem like a large number, calcium is present in a wide variety of foods in a natural form, making it easier to hit the daily intake number. Consuming the mineral organically through foods ensures optimal absorption whilst also guaranteeing a balance of other important nutrients that work in conjunction.

Why do we need calcium?

A study carried out by the Vegan Society over the course of 5 years looked into the effects of calcium in a vegan diet and found that vegans were more at risk of getting a bone fracture when compared to meat-eaters, pescatarians and vegetarians due to the result of lower calcium intake. These results changed when studying those on a vegan diet but regularly consuming 525mg of calcium per day as they were no longer in danger of increased risks. In taking extra precautions to ensure you are consuming enough calcium daily can truly ensure that you keep your body in a healthy state.

It is important to note that it’s not only up to Calcium to provide the necessary vitamins for a healthy body. For good bone health, you don’t just need vegan calcium sources but you need other minerals including Vitamin K and Protein as they also play a super important role in building those strong bones. In eating the correct foods, consuming all these essential vitamins can be easily done!

Vegan Calcium Sources:

Below we have included a list of foods that are vegan calcium sources and also super tasty! It’s a good idea to try and include these foods in your diet as much as possible. The mg figures given indicate mg of calcium per 100g food.

  • Tahini/sesame seed spread (680mg)
  • Almonds (240mg) – almonds are a key ingredient in our delicious Nakd Pecan Pie Bar, Nakd Lemon Drizzle Bar and Nakd Carrot Cake Bar!
  • Raw spinach (170mg)
  • Cooked spinach (150mg)
  • Cooked curly kale (150mg)
  • Hazelnuts (140mg)
  • Raw curly kale (130mg)
  • Sunflower seeds (110mg)
  • Pak Choi (105mg)
  • Quinoa (60mg)
  • Raw broccoli (56mg)
  • Oats (54mg)
  • Canned chickpeas (43mg)
  • Cooked broccoli (40mg)
  • Cos or Romaine lettuce (33mg)
  • Pumpkin seeds (39mg)

Calcium Rich Foods:

Along with these raw ingredients, Tofu is also a brilliant source of calcium, providing 200-240mg Calcium per 100g. As a versatile ingredient, tofu can be used in several recipes including stir fries, barbecued dishes and soups.

Edible seaweeds and sea vegetables are also great sources of fibre and calcium whilst working harmoniously with other important minerals. An easy way to incorporate these algae into your diet is to look for easy-to-use Nori seaweed sheets that easily roll into delicious vegetable wraps or rolls. Alternatively look for dried seaweeds such as Nori or Laver which are perfect for salads and soups.

A great seaweed to try out is the samphire grass, otherwise known as marsh samphire. Widely available in the UK and seen along the coastal regions during those gorgeous summer months, it is best eaten raw but can also be lightly steamed whilst still keeping all the nutrition! A vegan calcium source that’s also full of B vitamins and fibre, it’s a great ingredient to incorporate into your diet.

The absorption of calcium in a plant-based diet

Vegan diets are usually high in fibre due to the amount of wholegrains and greens intake. Although these foods are inherently good for the body, they also include mineral blockers or anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid. Although this isn’t a major concern for most people, it can become a more serious issue for those who lead a plant-based diet. In order to counter this issue, prepare staple foods properly by soaking wholegrains including rice, oats and quinoa for a few hours before use.

Another tip is to soak nuts in warm salty water before peeling them. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and peas need a real good soaking before cooking, or better yet, sprout them! This is a natural process by which seeds germinate and put out shoots – all you need is a few seed trays. Lentils are great for sprouting, super easy and tasty!

Sprouting is a great process that holds many benefits. Not only does it change foods to become more digestible, but it also increases the nutrients and enzyme content which is great for the human body!

Calcium rich diet

There are a few easy ways you can add more calcium into your vegan diet. You can indulge in a salad as often as possible and add in all the good stuff including broccoli, pak choi, seaweeds and nuts. Even add in a little tofu for an extra nutritious meal. Other calcium diet ideas include…

  • Seaweed strips or scattering of sunflower seeds ontop of your salad not only make it even more delicious, but are also calcium rich ingredients that will help your body at the same time!
  • Add beans, chickpeas or any other type of legume to your soups, stir fries or broths.
  • Add a little extra flavour to your rice cakes by spreading almond butter or hummus on top.

Now that you know everything there is to know about vegan calcium sources, why don’t you read our other articles on food and nutrition such as the Heart Health Benefits of Almonds or Vegan BBQ Food.

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