calcium in a vegan diet


Calcium, essential for strong bones, present in dark green leafy vegetables, in tofu, in the processing of which calcium sulfate was used; it is added to some types of soy milk and orange juice, and it is present in many other foods commonly eaten by vegans. Although a diet low in animal protein may reduce calcium loss, there is currently little evidence that vegans have a lower calcium requirement than other people. Vegans should eat foods high in calcium and/or use calcium supplements.

Need for calcium

Calcium is a very important mineral for the human body. Our bones contain large amounts of calcium, thanks to which they remain strong and hard. The body needs calcium to carry out other functions – the functioning of the nervous and muscular systems and blood clotting. These functions are so important that when dietary calcium levels are too low, calcium is leached out of the bones and used for other purposes. The body carefully monitors the level of calcium in the blood, so it is not enough just to measure the level of calcium in the blood to get a clear picture of the calcium content in the body as a whole.

Tofu and Other Sources of Calcium

Influenced by the propaganda of the American dairy industry, the general public believes that cow’s milk is the only source of calcium. However, there are other excellent sources of calcium, so vegans with a varied diet need not worry about sources of calcium in their diet.

Vegan sources of calcium that are well absorbed by the body include calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, calcium-fortified tofu, soybeans and soy nuts, bok choy, broccoli, brauncolli leaves, bok choy, mustard leaves, and okra. Grains, beans (beans other than soybeans), fruits and vegetables (other than those listed above) can contribute to calcium intake, but do not replace the main sources of calcium.

The table shows the calcium content of some foods.. When you see that four ounces of firm tofu or 3/4 cup of brauncolli leaves has the same amount of calcium as one cup of cow’s milk, it’s easy to see why people who don’t drink cow’s milk still have strong bones. and teeth.

Calcium content in vegan foods

ProductVolumeCalcium (mg)
raw molasses2 tablespoons400
brauncoli leaves, boiled1 cup357
Tofu cooked with calcium sulfate (*)4 oz200-330
Orange juice containing calcium8 ounces300
Soy or rice milk, commercial, fortified with calcium, not containing other additives8 ounces200-300
commercial soy yogurt6 ounces80-250
Turnip leaves, boiled1 cup249
Tofu processed with nigari (*)4 ounces;80-230
Tempe1 cup215
Browncol, boiled1 cup179
Soybeans, boiled1 cup175
Okra, boiled1 cup172
Bok choy, boiled1 cup158
Mustard leaves, boiled1 cup152
Tahini2 tablespoons128
Broccoli, sauerkraut1 cup94
almond nuts1/4 cup89
Almond oil2 tablespoons86
Soy milk, commercial, no additives8 ounces80

* Check the label on the tofu container to know if calcium sulfate or nigari (magnesium chloride) was used in the processing.

Note: Oxalic acid, found in spinach, rhubarb, chard, and beetroot, prevents the body from absorbing the calcium in these foods. These foods are not reliable sources of calcium. On the other hand, the body is able to effectively absorb calcium contained in other green vegetables – in brauncolis, in Chinese mustard leaves, in Chinese cabbage flowers. Fiber appears to have little effect on the body’s ability to absorb calcium, with the exception of fibers in wheat bran, which have a moderate effect of this sort.

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