[7 FOODS] How To Get Enough Calcium On A Dairy Free Diet
"How to get enough calcium on a dairy-free diet?"
This is a question that comes up at some point for all vegans and plant-based people. The general public is under the impression that an individual has to consume animal protein for calcium, this is not quite true.
This is discussed below and alternatives suggested.
We grew up with the belief that if you drink milk, it will give you healthy bones. Now that we know more about the topic (thanks to science) is that still the case?
It's been one of the most misunderstood areas for the general public concerning diet. The old thinking was influenced by skewed information and generous marketing budgets of the top dairy companies.
There is evidence that shows that cow's milk can lead to an over-calcification of the bones which can be detrimental.
Our friends over at Yale University even ran a study that shows how dairy consumption in 16 countries suggests a high number of cases of Osteoporosis.
Hailed as a ‘Wonder Nutrient’, Calcium was believed that you needed that and that alone for proper bone growth. The truth is that you require a particular mixture of nutrients to achieve this.
Also, calcium is not the only THING that is needed for healthy bone development. You also need Vitamin D and Magnesium.
The key ingredients to bone development can be consumed in the following foods below, and some of these foods may shock you.
CALCIUM = STRONG BONES?
Thoughtfully consuming the correct mixture of nutrients and vitamins is the most logical way of achieving optimum bone health.
Unfortunately, dairy consumption alone can not deliver this for you because the effects of dairy on the human body tend to be detrimental to health, rather than aid it. This is shown by the evidence that dairy consumption can lead to over-calcification of the bones (see above).
But, Calcium is not the enemy!
Calcium is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. It helps with brain health, aids in the balance of alkaline/acidity, and even helps with blood pressure.
So, lets look at so of the healthiest ways of consuming this healthy little nutrient (as well as many other nutrients)?
How to get enough calcium on a dairy free diet?
The amount of calcium that you will require is based on your age and sex. You can see what the USDA recommends here for your individual situation.
The good news for a non-dairy eater is that you can consume the amount of calcium required to be healthy from a variety of natural foods.
As an added benefit, by consuming the below foods, you will be getting other essential vitamins and nutrients. After reading the below you will be more educated to answer the question of "How to get enough Calcium on a Dairy Free diet?".
Talk about Win-Win!
1, Chia Seeds
Geez, I love my Chia Pudding around 3 pm each day!
In addition to being an excellent source of iron and protein, you will also get your hit of calcium and magnesium. It's a good source of Omega 3, zinc, and B vitamins.
Amount: 2.5 Tablespoons = 300 milligrams.
Note: If you didn’t know already, the best way to eat your chia seeds is by soaking them overnight in some almond or soy milk. They are perfect with fruit of your choice first thing in the morning.
Tofu can be such a delicious addition to so many meals because it is the perfect host to the meal you are making and so versatile.
Amount: ½ Cup = 350 milligrams
If you would like a really great recipe that includes Tofu, then check out this recipe here.
3, Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are packed full of the resources you need to be healthy. Plus, a real (backyard) Master Chef should have the skills to make these ‘blank canvases’ into a masterpiece on the dinner table.
Pro Tip: If you cook your leafy greens before serving, it will improve the chances of absorption.
The amount that you are recommended to consume is based on whether you are eating raw or cooked. This resource suggests that you should eat 3-4 servings per week of dark green leafy vegetables, such as Kale.
4, Non-Dairy Milks
The best thing about our day and age is the variety of natural non-dairy milk alternatives. I prefer the texture and taste of almond, soy and rice milk to cow's milk, so it works out pretty well!
Simply add it to your Oats in the morning or substitute your milk with rice milk in your coffee.
As long as you don’t over boil/cook these bad boys they can be an excellent source of calcium in your diet. As a suggestion, only light steam them for best results.
Admittedly, the amount of calcium is not as dense as other foods, but you can add them to most lunch and dinner options in conjunction with another source.
Amount: 1 cup = 62 milligrams
They are the perfect in-between meal snack or pre-workout energy kickstart - plus they are delicious!
Additionally, they are an excellent source of Vitamin E and magnesium.
Amount: ¼ cup = 90-95 milligrammes which are relatively high in calcium for a nut.
Where we were staying this summer in Croatia, I was pleased to see a 40-year-old fig tree that was fruiting. Each and every day we could harvest 1-2 kg of this amazingly healthy and delicious fruit.
Figs are amazing for the digestive system; they are also nutrient dense!
Amount: 5 figs = 135 milligrams of calcium
So, no matter what way you look at it, there are so many healthier options for getting your daily dose of the healthy, life-giving, bone loving nutrient - Calcium
Now, it's over to you. Have you got any other suggestions of the best way of how to get enough calcium on a dairy free diet?
Leave in the comments below.
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