Calcium is an essential mineral that is required for strong bones and teeth, muscle function, and nerve transmission. While many people associate calcium with dairy products, there are plenty of plant-based sources of this important nutrient. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to reduce your dairy intake, there are numerous options for getting enough calcium in your diet. In this blog, we will explore some of the best plant-based sources of calcium and how to incorporate them into your meals for optimal health.
How much Calcium you require daily?
The amount of calcium required daily can vary based on factors such as age, gender, and overall health. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily intake of calcium for adults aged 19-50 is 1,000 milligrams, while those over 50 should aim for 1,200 milligrams per day. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may require even more calcium to support fetal and infant development. It’s important to note that not getting enough calcium can increase the risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting enough through diet or supplements. By incorporating calcium-rich plant-based foods into your diet, you can easily meet your daily calcium requirements while reaping the other health benefits that come with a plant-based diet.
Plant-Based Sources of Calcium:
There are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium that can provide the recommended daily intake of this important mineral. Some of the best sources include leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and bok choy, as well as fortified plant milks such as soy, almond, and oat milk. Tofu is also a great source of calcium, with some brands containing up to 860 milligrams per half cup. Other plant-based sources of calcium include almonds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds. Incorporating these foods into your daily meals can help ensure that you’re getting enough calcium for strong bones and overall health.
How to increase the absorption of calcium?
While plant-based sources of calcium are abundant, some of them also contain compounds that can interfere with calcium absorption. For example, spinach and Swiss chard contain high levels of oxalates that can bind to calcium, making it less available for absorption. To enhance calcium absorption, it’s important to consume calcium-rich foods along with foods that are high in vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus, as these nutrients aid in calcium absorption. Additionally, soaking and sprouting certain plant-based sources of calcium can reduce their levels of oxalates and other compounds that can inhibit calcium absorption.
One thing to note is that while a plant-based diet can provide ample amounts of calcium, it’s important to make sure you’re also getting enough of other important nutrients. For example, vitamin B12, which is essential for nerve function and red blood cell production, is primarily found in animal products. If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s important to supplement with vitamin B12 or eat foods fortified with the nutrient. Additionally, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can also be more challenging to obtain from a plant-based diet, so it’s important to be mindful of your intake and consider supplementation if necessary. As with any diet, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure that you’re meeting all of your nutritional needs.
In conclusion, a plant-based diet can provide ample amounts of calcium to support strong bones, teeth, and overall health. There are plenty of delicious and healthy options available to ensure that you’re getting the calcium your body needs.