How Do Vegans Get Calcium?
Let me give you some statistics regarding vegans and veganism. These statistics show that veganism has just begun. The UK is one of the pioneering of veganism as the number of vegans has increased rapidly since 2014. In fact, in the UK, more than 1% of the population has chosen the vegan lifestyle. Cities like Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, and Norwich are very popular in this respect. Also, as long as people are showing interest in veganism, supermarkets are offering more vegan options.
Now, in many supermarkets, vegan alternatives such as sausages, burgers, and plant-based meat are sold. At the same time, people have become more knowledgeable. As an example, the number of book titles related to veganism has reached 10,000 which is a huge advancement compared to 2018 which was only 944 titles.
People wish to have a greener future where there are not many catastrophic natural events such as drought, flood, hurricane, etc. However, there are some rumours which stop people from shifting to veganism. In this article, we are going to talk about these rumours. But first, we have to know who is a vegan and what veganism includes.
What Is Veganism?
Veganism started a few years ago when a group of people decided to stop eating meat and other animal-related products. Before veganism, the dominant movement was vegetarianism. There is an important difference between veganism and vegetarianism which is vital to know for continuing our article.
In vegetarianism, you have to only avoid eating meat. In fact, you are free to eat other animal-related products such as eggs, milk, etc. But, in veganism, you can eat neither meat nor any other animal-related products. Also, in addition to changing your food style, you must put away all the clothes that are made out of animals' skin.
What Are The Benefits Of Veganism?
People have different reasons to become vegan. But, in general, there are three main reasons for people to go forward with veganism.
- First, they do it for the sake of animals' rights. Vegans believe that animals are just like humans and must be able to enjoy their life. Humans have to stop killing them for producing food. They are kept in a horrible situation and get killed wildly daily. This has to stop somewhere.
- The second reason is that people are worried about nature and its destruction. Every day, jungles and forests are getting destroyed. It is mainly because animals in farms need millions of tons of food every day. We have to grow food for them which requires millions of hectares of agricultural products. The same is true with water. Water consumption in the current food industry is awful. We are using it for growing animals very inefficiently. If we become vegan, lands will be saved and water consumption will be reduced quickly.
- Finally, vegans believe that a vegan lifestyle is the best choice for having a healthy lifestyle. Eating meat, eggs, milk, and other animal-based food could be dangerous for many people.
In contrast to them, plant-based food is less dangerous and can provide all the essential compounds with our body needs. However, although studies have shown that vegan foods are healthy and get you everything your body needs, there are some controversies around them. In this article, we need to discuss them.
Controversies About Vegan Food
Some experts think that vegan food lacks what our body requires. For example, there is an assumption that says if you become vegan, you are going to run into lots of problems because your body doesn’t absorb calcium enough. This is very important as calcium is one of the most important functional elements in our body. Without calcium, many of the processes and chemical reactions will be interrupted in our bodies. So, let's see why calcium absorption is important to our health.
The Function Of Calcium In Our Body
Having healthy teeth & bones and functional nerves & muscle tissues are hugely associated with a decent amount of calcium in our body. A low amount of calcium, in general, might lead to osteoporosis. These facts are already enough to show the importance of calcium. Let's go a bit deeper into that. Calcium is mainly concentrated in our skeleton, teeth, tissues, and blood. Enzyme function, the transmission of nervous system messages, blood clotting, regulating heart functioning, and activities related to muscle functioning such as contraction and relaxation are closely affiliated with calcium.
Some groups of people including babies, young children, teenagers, and elderly people need calcium more than other groups due to their specific needs and demands. For example, young children need calcium more than other groups because of the constant growth of skeletal tissue. Or, peak bone mass is built in teenagers and that's why they need calcium more. It is also obvious that elderly people need more calcium because as they age, they lose more calcium.
Animal Sources Of Calcium
Non-vegan individuals usually get calcium from four different sources including cheese, milk & yogurt, seafood, and meat. Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese are good sources of calcium. Regarding milk and yogurt, cow's milk, skim milk powder, and different types of yogurt have a decent amount of calcium. Crab, mussels, king prawns, and oysters provide calcium as seafood sources. Meats like chicken, beef, lamb, and pork also have a high amount of calcium.
What Is The Controversy?
As I told you, calcium is usually found in non-vegan food. That's why many people believe you cannot get enough calcium if you live a vegan lifestyle. However, this is wrong! There are many amazing sources of calcium in plant-based materials. Here, we are going to introduce some of the most popular non-vegan sources of calcium. Then, I will introduce some commercial vegan products as amazing sources of calcium.
Plant-Based Sources Of Calcium
In contrast to what usually people think about plant-based food, they can be great sources of calcium. It means that vegans have no problem absorbing the calcium required by their bodies. In this part, 10 sources of vegan sources of calcium will be introduced. You will be amazed to see how diverse these sources have become thanks to scientific discoveries.
Soybeans are among the richest sources of calcium. Immature soybeans have around 30% of RDI. If you cook soybeans, the RDI will be reduced by around 10% but it is still high in calcium. Three types of foods namely tofu, tempeh, and natto are soybeans-based dishes that are rich in calcium and mineral. If these foods are processed minimally, they contain a high amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals too.
Foods that come from soy have several advantages. They can lower blood pressure, improve the elasticity of artery walls, increase the health of bones, protect against some types of cancers, and improve cognitive function and visual memory. So, think about soy foods if you are vegan and worried about getting enough calcium.
One quick point is that some people show allergic reactions to soy. The symptoms associated with soy allergy are itching, tingling sensation, flushed skin, nausea, diarrhea, wheezing, hives, and dizziness. If you are allergic, don’t consume soymilk, soybean, soy, soy nuts, soy sauce, tofu, miso, tempeh, and tamari. Also, to increase soy intake, it is better to choose whole soy foods such as soymilk, tempeh, soy bread, tofu.
Health-Related Advantages Of Soy Foods
There are basically two main advantages associated with soy foods. The first one is that the risk of cardiovascular disease will be reduced. A high level of estrogen is a great help for women especially during their reproductive years and after menopause. Another benefit of soy foods is a low level of cholesterol and LDL which are also influential factors in heart disease. High and low amounts of fibre and saturated-fat content are other positive features of soy foods.
Foods Made From Black-Eyed Peas
This is another valuable source of calcium. These peas are very nutrient-dense with fiber and protein. Folate, copper, thiamine, and iron are other vital micronutrients that our body needs. There are several potential benefits with black-eyed peas-based foods including supporting weight loss, promoting digestive health, and enhancing heart health.
Also, there are a large variety of dishes that can be based on black-eyes peas. Southern Style Vegan Black-Eyed Peas, Instant Pot Vegan Black-Eyed Peas, Black-Eyed Peas, Black-Eyed Peas Curry, and Sloppy Black-Eyed Peas are some of the best vegan dishes which are based on black-eyed peas.
General Health Benefits Associated With Black-Eyed Peas
As we said earlier, black-eyed peas help lose weight. It is because they are low in fat and calories but keep us feeling full. It is especially working for people who have passed their teens and twenties. Vegans always complain about the fact that finding enough energy in fruit and other veggies is hard. This is not the case in black-eyed peas. In addition to losing weight, black-eyed peas are great sources of vitamins and minerals.
Also. Birth defects will be reduced thanks to the presence of folate in pregnant women. Manganese found in black-eyed peas keeps harmful bacteria away from your body. Decreasing the risk of pancreatic cancer, combating anemia, regulating blood pressure, keeping your bones strong, and helping babies before they are born are some other benefits of black-eyes peas.
Some people think that there are no milk alternatives. However, this is not true. Now, you can get milk from soy. It is called soymilk. It is a plant-based non-dairy beverage. Soymilk is enriched with vitamin D and calcium. Also, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory are released from omega-3 and flavonoids. Soymilk has also cardioprotective properties. Some experts believe that it is better to put soymilk into your coffee instead of dairy milk.
Why should you do this? First of all, non-dairy milk such as soymilk is helpful in your general health and losing weight. Also, some people are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy milk because of the presence of lactose in it. Soymilk is lactose-free which makes it great for people who cannot digest dairy milk.
Comparing Soymilk With Dairy Milk And Other Plant-Based Milk
The amount of protein, fats, and carbs are balanced in soymilk compared to cow's milk. Also, all nine amino acids are present in soymilk. So, you can drink it without being worried about not getting enough calcium.
Kale is coming from leaf cabbage. It is a good source of energy, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Many kale recipes can help you absorb calcium and other valuable compounds. It is enriched with vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin, phosphorus, and potassium. As a result of consuming kale in your diet, your immune system, bone-building, are brain development are supported very well.
Also, muscular degeneration and cataracts are avoided too. Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables, Instant Pot Minestrone Soup, Kale Stir Fry with Crispy Curried Tofu, Harissa Spaghettini, Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad, Grilled Corn Kale Salad, Curried Cauliflower Rice Kale Soup, The Prettiest Purple Kale, Eggplant & Blackberry Salad, and Sweet Potato & Kale Tortilla Soup are some of the dishes based on kale.
You also should know that there are four types of kale including curly kale, dinosaur kale, redbor kale, and Russian kale. Curly kale is the most common one while dinosaur kale has wrinkly green leaves attached to a thick stem. Also, Russian kale is less common but redbor kale has colourful leaves.
This is another amazing source of calcium for vegans and vegetarians. Turnip greens are the dark leafy green tops of turnips. Turnip Soup with Turnip Greens, Turnip Greens with Bacon, and Southern-Style Turnip Greens are three famous dishes you can make with turnip greens. Turnip greens are full of vitamin K, vitamin A, Carotenoids, Folate, and other nutrients.
Vitamin K is responsible for bone metabolism, vascular health, and normal blood coagulation. The calcium inside Turnip greens is associated with its bone-mineralizing potential. Also, cognitive and cardiovascular health is supported by vitamin A and carotenoids. Also, DNA and RNA synthesis and amino acid metabolism are influenced by Turnip greens because of the presence of folate.
Let me tell you a very interesting that you might not believe. The amount of calcium in seaweeds is 10 times more than in normal milk. Also, the calcium found in seaweeds is more bioavailable than in other sources. Seaweeds are great concerning the high amount of vitamins and minerals and low qualities of fat and calories. Calcium found in seaweeds is vital to your bone and muscle health.
Thyroid and gut function will be improved and diabetes are avoided by consuming seaweeds. The calcium in seaweeds is a bit different from other types of calcium. It is called algae calcium or algae-derived calcium. Comparing algae calcium to other types of calcium such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate shows that algae calcium has much more quantities of minerals. Seaweeds are full of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, calcium, iodine, and magnesium.
Before talking about the next source of calcium, I should mention that there are six types of seaweeds including chlorella & spirulina, kelp, dulse, and Hijiki. Kombu, Wakame, and agar-agar. What are the differences? Here are some points about different types of seaweeds.
For example, chlorella & spirulina is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, and iron which help you have a healthy brain and digestive system. What about Dulse? Dulse is associated with having strong bones. It is also influential in lowering blood pressure. Hijiki is one of the seaweeds which is famous for its high calcium content. It is interesting to know Hujiki has calcium 14 times more than regular milk. High levels of fiber, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, and iodine are also found in Hijiki.
There are four types of white beans including navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans, and baby lima beans. Cannellini beans, for example, are loaded with 55 mg of calcium per 100 grams. In addition to calcium, this type of bean is full of calories, protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, total fat, sodium, and iron. The same is true with navy beans as they have 47 mg of calcium per 100 grams. This type of bean has lots of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium too.
Edamame banes have also 63 mg of calcium per 100 grams which makes it a very good source of calcium. There are many benefits associated with consuming different types of beans including losing weight, heart health, lowering the risk for metabolic syndrome, and bone health.
The variety of dishes made from different types of white beans is amazing. Some of the most famous dishes are easy lemon rosemary white bean soup, stuffed acorn squash + wild rice medley, lemon kale + white bean soup with leeks, slow cooker minestrone, vegetable quinoa soup, and spinach & artichoke white bean dip are among the most famous dishes.
You can continue the list and extend it as much as you want. You might think that not all vegan foods have calcium in them. What should we do in that case? Well, we have an answer for that situation too. When your body needs higher levels of calcium and you are not able to get that amount with your vegan foods (which is very unlikely), you can go ahead and buy vegan calcium capsules and tablets. If you go to amazon.com, you will see hundreds of products that provide you with the required calcium. From now on, I am going to introduce some of these products and have a quick review of them.
This is one of the most popular products. It is from the brand Solaray. Calcium is available in the form of calcium citrate. Other ingredients include vegetable cellulose capsule, magnesium stearate, watercress leaf, dandelion root, and parsley leaf. This product has been made in the USA and has followed good manufacturing practices. Also, there are no artificial flavours or colourings with added herbs for nutritive support. You are also sure that there is no gluten, soy, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, or wheat are involved.
This product is from the brand Amazon Elements store. For one bottle, you have to pay 16.07 dollars. In addition to calcium, it is filled with vitamin D2, microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable capsule, organic hull concentrate, and many more. The product is a great help for bone and immune health. Three are not artificial colours, flavours, or chemical preservatives involved.
Also, the following three products are popular and full of calcium and other nutrients:
- Raw Whole Food Vegan Calcium Supplement by Peak Performance. Plant-Based Calcium with Vitamin C, D3, K, Magnesium. Capsules for Bone, Joints. 120 Pills, Tablets
- EZ Melts Calcium & Magnesium with Vegan D3, 500 mg, Sublingual Vitamins, Vegan, Zero Sugar, Natural Strawberry Flavor, 60 Fast Dissolve Tablets
- Calcium 600 mg with Vitamin D3 400 IU – Pure and Natural Vegan Caps – Bone and Joint Health Supplement for Women and Men – 120 Easy to Swallow Mini Calcium Pills – Bone Support Capsules by GLS
Did I miss something? Please, go ahead and let us know your opinion on vegan foods that are full of calcium.
Veganism is a new lifestyle that suggests that it is much healthier for humans to stop eating meat and animal-related products. instead, they have to go for plant-based foods. However, there is an assumption that says plant-based foods don’t have enough calcium in them. In this article, we introduced plant-based sources of calcium and discussed their advantages. Also, I introduced five commercial products which satisfy your need for calcium. If you want to know more about veganism, just continue reading our content because we will come with newer content very soon.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about How Do Vegans Get Calcium? Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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