What is calcium and why do we need it?
Children are often taught to drink cow’s milk and eat dairy products in order to grow up big and strong. This is explained by the fact that dairy products are rich in calcium, which is necessary for bone health.
“Every day we lose calcium through the skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces,” reports the British National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). “That’s why it’s important to get enough calcium from the food we eat. When we don’t get calcium, the body starts taking it from our bones. If this happens too often, the bones become weak and brittle.” Symptoms of calcium deficiency include colic in the limbs, muscle spasms and low mood. Too much calcium in the body can lead to a rare condition known as hypercalcemia. Symptoms of hypercalcemia may include excessive thirst, urination, weakness in muscles and bones.
According to the NOF, women under the age of 50 need about 1000 mg of calcium per day, and women older than about 1200 mg. Calcium deficiency is especially common in menopausal and postmenopausal women, so the recommended amount is higher for older people. The NOF notes that the recommendations are slightly different for men: up to 70 years old – 1000 mg, and after 71 – 1200 mg.
Can you get calcium on a plant-based diet?
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which consists of 150 medical professionals, the healthiest source of calcium is not milk, but dark greens and legumes.
“Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kale, mustard, chard and other greens are high in highly absorbable calcium and other beneficial nutrients. The exception is spinach, which contains a large amount of calcium, but it is poorly absorbed, ”the doctors say.
Cow’s milk and other dairy products contain calcium, but the benefits of dairy may outweigh the potential harm. “Dairy products do contain calcium, but they are high in animal protein, sugar, fat, cholesterol, hormones, and random drugs,” the doctors said.
In addition, doctors believe that calcium is well retained in the body in the presence of physical exertion: “Active people tend to retain calcium in the bones, while less mobile people lose it.”
Vegan Sources of Calcium
1. Soy milk
Soy milk is an excellent source of calcium. “The calcium levels in dairy products are similar to the calcium levels in our soy drinks, yogurts and desserts. Therefore, our calcium-fortified soy products are a good alternative to dairy products,” says soy milk producer Alpro on its website.
Like soy milk, tofu is made from soybeans and is a good source of calcium. 200 grams of tofu can contain about 861 mg of calcium. In addition, tofu contains a large amount of magnesium, which is also important for strong bones.
Broccoli also contains protein, iron, magnesium and potassium. A study has shown that regular consumption of steamed broccoli reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
Tempeh is high in vitamins and minerals, including protein, iron, and calcium. Tempeh is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is a fermented product, and therefore it has a high nutrient absorption.
Almonds are the most calcium-rich nut. 30 grams of almonds contain 8% of the recommended daily intake of calcium.
6. Orange juice
Orange juice has a high concentration of calcium. A glass of orange juice contains 300 mg of calcium per glass.
Dates are rich in antioxidants, fiber and calcium. Dried figs contain more calcium than other dried fruits. 10 medium dried figs contain about 136 mg of calcium.
One cup of boiled chickpeas contains over 100 mg of calcium. Chickpeas are also rich in other vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, magnesium, and protein.
9. Poppy seeds
Poppy seeds, like chia and sesame seeds, are high in calcium. 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of poppy seeds contains 13% of the recommended daily intake. A serving of sesame seeds contains 9% of the recommended daily value.