What does calcium do:
- helps to build strong bones and teeth
- regulates muscle contractions e.g heartbeat
- ensures that blood clots normally
How much calcium do I need:
Adults: 700mg of calcium a day.
Good sources of calcium for vegans include (per 100ml/g):
- Fortified non-dairy milk drinks (120 mg)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Spring greens, boiled (75 mg)
- Kale, boiled (150 mg)
- Cabbage (48 mg)
- Rocket (160 mg)
- Watercress, raw (170 mg)
- Broccoli (47 mg)
- Parsley 138 mg
- Nuts and Seeds
- Almonds (264 mg)
- Sesame seeds (Tahini) (975 mg)
- Pulses (19 mg)
- brown and white bread (in the UK, calcium is added to white and brown flour by law)
- dried fruit
- Raisins (50 mg)
- Prunes (43 mg)
- Dried Figs (162 mg)
- Dried apricots (55 mg)
- If you live in a hard water areas then drinking tap water can provide 200mg of calcium daily. Check this map if you are located in the UK to see if you live in a hard water area: http://tinyurl.com/h3nr96z
Salt and caffeine can hinder the amount of calcium absorbed by the body. Some foods, such as greens like spinach, have oxalates which bind with the calcium and inhibits absorption. This is why adding as many low-oxalate foods such as rocket, cabbage and kale are important for a diet rich in calcium. High protein diets cause more calcium to be lost through urine. Protein from meat and other animal derived products are much more likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plants. This could be the reason that plant-based diets promote stronger bones than diets heavy in meat.
How to help calcium absorb:
- Exercise increases calcium absorption.
- Vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and boron lend a helping hand to absorbing calcium and also increasing bone mass.
- You should spread out your intake of calcium as high intakes are not absorbed as well as in small amounts throughout the day.
Note: You should always visit your GP or a nutritionist before you start a new diet. I am not a trained nutritionist or any other medical professional, the information, views and beliefs on this site are my opinion and my opinion alone and it is not meant to replace the advice of a trained nutritionist, doctor or other medical professional.