Many people believe that you can only meet your body’s calcium needs by drinking milk or eating dairy products. Therefore, doctors and nutritionists recommend drinking milk as the main source of calcium, especially when it comes to bone health or the prevention of osteoporosis.
For people who follow a vegetarian diet, they are warned of a calcium deficiency, but because there are so many plant foods that contain calcium, calcium requirements can be met without drinking milk.
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The importance of calcium
Calcium isn’t just essential for healthy bones and teeth. It is necessary for blood vessels, blood pressure regulation, and improvement of the effect of the hormone insulin. Calcium also ensures the response of muscles and nerve cells and also contributes to blood clotting.
Calcium deficiency is a condition that should be avoided as much as possible. This is by meeting your body’s daily needs of this ingredient. And if it is deficient, you will face serious health problems, the most prominent of which is osteoporosis, which makes you vulnerable to fractures when exposed to minor injuries. It also makes these fractures difficult to treat.
Are dairy products the only option?
A common expert opinion is that there is nothing better than consuming the largest amount of dairy products possible every day.
In the morning, you should drink a large cup of milk for breakfast, and you should also eat two slices of cheese. Then it is recommended to drink coffee with milk in the afternoon and a cup of milk in the evening. This way, you can easily meet the needs of your body.
However, there are quite a few people who either cannot tolerate dairy products (due to lactose intolerance) or do not want to consume dairy products (due to a vegetarian diet).
If you want to meet your calcium requirements without consuming dairy products, you may have difficulty with that, as some doctors say this is impossible. And if you think about giving up dairy products, you will definitely suffer from calcium deficiency.
But calcium is found in many sources, not just milk and dairy products. We will provide you with a list of many plant sources of calcium.
The amount of calcium that the body needs daily
The daily body need for calcium is 1,000 mg for any adult, whether young or old, pregnant or breastfeeding. The recommended daily allowance for teens is around 1,200 mg per day.
It is true that the calcium requirement for adults is approximately 1000 mg, but this does not mean that this amount is what the body will use, in fact, an adult only needs about 300 mg of calcium per day, but scientists recommend eating a larger amount because more calcium is excreted from the body. Through urine. For this you have to consume double the amounts of calcium that you actually need.
The best plant sources of calcium
On the following list you will find the most plant-based foods rich in calcium. If you include it in your diet, your body will be supplied with adequate calcium even if you follow a vegan diet only.
Calcium content per serving, not 100g:
- Nettle leaf powder 4000 mg
- Moringa milk powder 2000 mg
- Anemone powder 1400 mg
- Sesame powder 800 mg
- Spirulina (natural food supplement extracted from cyanobacteria) 625 mg
- Chia seed powder 500 mg
- Plantain powder (bulb) 400 mg
The calcium values mentioned in this list are of course approximate values, as these values always differ in natural foods.
In addition to the types of plant-based powders listed above, calcium is available in good amounts in dandelion leaves, broccoli, parsley, and other green leafy vegetables. These leaves can be easily added to smoothies or salads, this way you will get extra calcium.
A vegetarian food plan that includes foods rich in calcium
The foods suggested above can be incorporated into any food plan you prefer. We will suggest you a plan that can be used.
Oat chips or any type of gluten-free chips, with dried fruits, nuts, and some fresh fruits. You should also drink calcium-rich spring water or calcium-fortified almond milk.
If you choose another plant-based milk (such as soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk) that is fortified with calcium, the calcium content will be more.
Green fruit juice that consists of 1 tablespoon almond paste, 100 grams of green leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, watercress or spinach), 20 grams and 5 grams of nettle powder.
- A salad made of 50 grams of lettuce, 20 grams of watercress, and 50 grams of cress.
- 200 grams of various vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons chopped nuts.
- 50g dry quinoa.
- 50g tofu.
Chocolate drink consisting of almond milk (mix the almond milk with cocoa powder, provided that it is not sweetened).
A mixture of nuts, almond seeds, poppy seeds, dried fruits and a cup of sesame milk.
Sesame milk is prepared in the following way:
Mix 10 grams of sesame seeds with 250 mg of water and 4 – 5 dates in a blender for 2 – 3 minutes. If the milk is too thick for you, you can add more water, then a little dates or any sweet healthy plant until you get the right consistency.
Two slices of bread with chickpeas or any kind of beans.
Combine calcium-rich foods with supplements
If on some days you are not sure whether you have eaten enough calcium-rich foods, you can also take a comprehensive calcium-rich dietary supplement.
The recommended daily dose of calcium as a supplement is around 550 mg, and it’s a good idea to have magnesium in the supplement as well (about 240 mg).
In addition, try drinking plant-based milks, such as soy milk or almond milk. You should choose plant-based milks that are fortified with calcium.
There are types of phyto-calcium supplements available at pharmacies.These supplements are derived from algae or green plant powder such as nettle leaf powder.
Calcium absorption from plant sources is better than milk
Calcium from plant sources is much better than calcium in milk because it is easily absorbed.
Plant foods that are easily absorbed by calcium include broccoli, kale and most types of green leafy vegetables (provided you focus on eating the leaves, not just the stems).
In some areas of Asia, people rarely consume dairy products (if any), and these vegetables have been eaten for thousands of years to meet the body’s needs for calcium and do not suffer from a calcium deficiency.
Even from grains (like white beans or green beans) we can get about 20-25 percent of our daily calcium.
Make sure to get enough vitamin D.
People who suffer from vitamin D deficiency can suffer from calcium deficiency even if they consume enough calcium, because their bodies will not be able to absorb the calcium from the intestine.
Vitamin D is not found in abundance in food, but it can be made in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
If you do not get enough sun exposure, you should take a vitamin D supplement.
Read also: The importance of calcium and vitamin D.