A couple of days back I was how do I get enough calcium as a vegan. Truth be told, I hadn’t really thought about it up until that point. I got home, dove head first into google and got busy researching. A few hours (and a few bars of chocolate) later, here’s my guide to calcium for vegans.
Why do we need Calcium?
Calcium is an alkaline earth metal and an essential nutrient for building healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also important for regulating heart rhythms, blood pressure and cholesterol as well as aiding proper muscle function.
As much as 2% of our body weight is thought to be calcium with 99% of the bodies calcium found in our bones. Our bones act as the bodies calcium storehouse. If your diet does not contain adequate calcium levels your body will draw on these calcium stores for more important purposes such as nerve and muscle function.
Adults need to consume around 700mg of calcium per day according to NHS guidelines. Symptoms of a calcium deficiency can include
- Weak bones and an increased risk of fractures
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with blood clotting
- Tooth decay
- Delayed growth in children
How to get calcium as a Vegan
Fortunately, it’s quite simple to get enough calcium as a vegan just by eating plants. To make things easier, most vegan milk alternatives are fortified with calcium, so too are many breads and cereals. As is always the case, a wholefood diet rich in a variety of veg, fruits, nuts and pulses gives you the best chance of good health. Here’s a list of high calcium vegan foods with their calcium content per 100g
|Food||Calcium per 100g/100ml|
As you can see there’s a wide range of plant foods rich in calcium. A wholefood vegan diet rich in veg, beans and seeds can easily give you all the calcium you require.
So there we have it, next time you’re asked about where you get your calcium, you can answer “from all sorts of places!” I hope this has been helpful to any vegans new or well established and has helped any non vegans out there move a step closer to taking up a vegan lifestyle.
May your bones be strong and healthy!