You know how important it is to get enough calcium in your diet every day: doctors recommend women between the ages of 19 and 50 get 1,000 mg per day; women over 50 need 1,200 mg to protect and build healthy bones. Eliminating dairy from your diet can make it challenging to get enough.
According to Dr. Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, vegans and vegetarians should eat foods that are high in calcium in addition to using a calcium supplement:
“Calcium is also needed for other tasks including nerve and muscle function and blood clotting. These tasks are so important for survival, that, when dietary calcium is too low, calcium will be lost from bone and used for other critical functions.”
Dr. Reed Mangels
Calcium also helps maintain your tooth enamel and keep muscles from failing. Nerve impulses (the communication network of your body) also require calcium to function.
Food + Supplements = The Best Way to Get Calcium for Vegans
Although we hear that we can get enough calcium from plant sources, there is a very real possibility that you are not eating enough bioavailable (ready for your body to absorb) calcium to meet your daily requirements. Here are some good sources of plant-based calcium, and the amount it would take to get your RDA (recommended daily allowance):
|Food||Calcium Per Cup||Required for RDA|
|Kale||180 mg||5 1/2 cups|
|Collard Greens||260 mg||3 3/4 cups|
|Swiss Chard||100 mg||10 cups|
|Turnip Greens||200 mg||5 cups|
|Chickpeas||80 mg||12 1/2 cups|
|Broccoli||45 mg||22 cups|
|Almonds *||380 mg||2 2/3 cups|
* we wouldn’t recommend eating this many almonds per day. We love almonds too but this amount would equal more than 2,500 calories!
A combination of a vegan calcium supplement and consciously adding the right foods to your diet give you the best of both worlds. Pure Vegan Calcium is derived from whole red algae, and contains spirulina, spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans, and thyme.
Assessing Your Risk
What are some factors you should consider to assess your risk for low calcium?
- Sodium in your diet. Each gram of sodium you eat or drink causes you to lose 20mg of calcium.
- Pregnancy: during pregnancy and lactation our calcium needs increase.
- Medications: antacids and other medications can decrease your ability to absorb calcium.
- Age: hormonal changes as well as a reduced capacity for absorbing calcium contribute to deteriorating bones. After menopause women are especially at risk.
- Physical activity: If you are sedentary, you are at risk. The more you do weight-bearing exercises, the stronger and healthier your bones will be. If you regularly walk, run, or workout with weights, you’re in good shape.
Take action today to enhance your health and protect your bones and nerves for the future with femMED Vegan Calcium.