Vegans need as much calcium as meat-eaters. It’s is a common misconception that people eating a plant-based diet have a harder time getting calcium through food. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It just so happens that vegans get calcium from sources that are healthier and more diverse.
Why do we need calcium?
Calcium is a mineral stored in our bones and teeth, keeping them strong and hard. It is also needed for our muscles to move and for our brain to communicate to all our body parts. With the help of calcium, our body releases hormones and enzymes needed for normal bodily functions.
The recommended calcium intake
As with all vitamins and minerals, the best way to acquire calcium is through all-natural sources–that is, the food you eat. Although calcium supplements are available, its quality in this form is inferior. When found in plant sources, calcium is much more easily absorbed and utilized by the body.
How much calcium do you need?
The Food and Nutrition Board says it depends on your age, gender, and health status. It’s important you understand what your personal recommended intake is.
For those under three years, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is between 200-700mg. For persons between four and eighteen years old, the DRI is 1,000-1,300mg. If you are between 19-70 years old, your DRI is 1,000mg. And for people over the age of 70, the DRI jumps back to 1,200mg. If you’re pregnant or nursing, your DRI remains the same.
A list of the best natural, vegan sources of calcium
So what are the best vegan sources of calcium?
From legumes (beans) and seeds to thistles (artichokes) and cane sugar syrup (molasses), there are many delicious and nutrient-rich plant-based sources to choose from. Calcium is not just good for your bones. It helps your blood flow, muscles function, nerves transmit messages, hormones secrete, and cells signal each other.
- Soybeans: 1 cup serving contains 261 mg
- White Beans: 1 cup serving contains 126 mg
- Pinto Beans: 1 cup serving contains 76 mg
- Hemp Milk: 1 cup serving contains 130 mg
Nuts and Seeds
- Sesame Seeds: ¼ cup serving contains 350 mg
- Chia Seeds: 2 oz. serving contains 358 mg
- Almond Butter: 2 tablespoon serving contains 111 mg
- Collard Greens: 1 cup serving contains 268 mg
- Turnip Greens: 1 cup serving contains 76 mg
- Kale: 1 cup serving contains 94 mg
- Broccoli: 1 raw stalk contains 115 mg
- Fennel: 1 bulb contains 71 mg
- Artichoke: 1 artichoke contains 25 mg
- Amaranth: 1 cup serving contains 116 mg
- Blackcurrants: 1 cup serving contains 62 mg
- Figs: ½ cup serving contains 120 mg
- Oranges: 1 orange contains 50-60 mg
- Blackberries: 1 cup serving contains 40 mg
- Blackstrap Molasses: 2 tablespoon serving contains 120 mg
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