*DISCLAIMER - It’s important to note that the nutritional profile of an ingredient is dependant of it brand/ origin and some peoples bodies will intake more calcium than others. We are just providing some guidelines of what to look out for when doing your own research to find the right food for you. Please consult your doctor or nutritionist if you require more information.
Calcium is required for our bodies to maintain strong bones and teeth, as well as being important for our nervous system and muscle control. For the UK, the NHS recommends for adults aged 19 – 64 to have 700mg calcium a day.
But how can we get enough calcium on a plant-based diet? We’ve all heard people talk about that “if you are a vegan, you will not have enough calcium in your diet”, but you CAN get all the calcium you need. *
“Did you know Kale has more calcium per 100g than cow’s milk and has a 27% higher absorption rate! “
What to look out for:
When looking at your favourite brands, look to see if they are calcium-fortified. This label will be found on the side of the packet and is a great identifier to ensure that you are consuming the correct amounts of calcium.
Oxalic Acid can be found in many plant-based foods and can prevent the body from absorbing minerals. Whilst you don’t need to avoid these ingredients (unless you are told by a doctor) if you are looking to add more calcium make sure you are consuming foods low to medium oxalate levels so your body get take in all of the natural nutrients.
Let’s take a look at which plant-based foods contain calcium:
Certain vegetables and leafy greens:
Some of the dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are rich in calcium, and can easily bring you up to your daily calcium intake if you use the correct amounts.
Take a look at – Kale, Pak Choi, Turnips, Okra, Cabbage, Mustard Greens, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts.
Try to focus more on low to medium oxalate vegetables as high oxalate vegetables could bind calcium to your gut, making it more difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Almonds and Brazil nuts both contain a good amount of calcium.
Whilst the amount may be small compared to other ingredients, nuts are also a great source of fibre, protein, antioxidants, healthy fats and much more.
Most plant-based milks have high calcium levels but you need to look on the side of the carton to see whether it is calcium fortified.
As long as it is calcium-fortified, Tofu and Tempeh both have high levels of calcium and are a great ingredient which goes with most meals. Great for protein, carbs, fibre and calcium, this is an ideal staple to include in your diet.
Blackstrap Molasses, otherwise known as black treacle, is a sweetener created from sugar cane that has been boiled down 3 times.
Whilst this ingredient should be taken in moderation due to its high sugar content, it actually contains lots of other nutritional benefits. It’s high levels in calcium means it could cover nearly a quarter of your daily calcium recommendation with just one tablespoon. It also contains other nutrients such as iron, selenium, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese.
Oranges, Tangerines, Kiwis, Mulberries, Blackberries, Guava, Fig and Blackcurrants all contain high amounts of calcium which is easily absorbable.
Other great benefits of fruit is that they provide the body with many other vitamins and minerals.
What other foods to you eat to help bring up your calcium intake? Let us know by using @erpinghamhouse.