Getting enough calcium is one of the important concerns among people who follow vegan diets. As you already know, dairy products are well-known sources of calcium that most people depend on. However, these are not an option for vegans. Hence, if you are following a plant-based diet, it is important to be aware of the calcium sources to include in your vegan meal plans.
The following are some of the excellent sources of calcium that you can include in your vegan diet plans:
Soybeans are a great source of calcium. Additionally, various products derived from soybeans are also high in calcium. One cup of cooked soybeans has 18.5% of the RDI, and the same amount of edamame (immature soybeans) provides you 27.6% of your daily requirement.
Other foods made from soybeans, including tempeh, natto, and tofu are also high in this important mineral. Tofu made using calcium phosphate offers 350mg of calcium per hundred grams.
Natto and tempeh, which are products created from fermented soybeans, provide rich amounts of this mineral as well.
In addition to providing high amounts of calcium, soy products also offer a wide range of other essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, they are a complete source of protein, as they contain all the nine essential amino acids.
Therefore, including various soy products in your vegan diet can provide you a lot of benefits.
Peas, Beans, And Lentils
These plant-based foods are well-known for their excellent amounts of protein and fiber. They are also a good source of calcium. There are different varieties of peas and beans to include in your diet and they provide varying amounts of calcium.
Winged beans can provide you almost 26% 0f the RDI, whereas, white and navy beans can provide about 13% of the RDI. Black beans contain 11% and chickpeas have 9% of the RDI. Lentils can provide you 4% of your daily requirement of calcium.
Moreover, peas, beans, and lentils are rich in many other nutrients. Some of them include iron, potassium, zinc, folate, and magnesium. However, they also contain antinutrients such as lectins, and phytates, which are compounds that can reduce the ability of your body to absorb nutrients. Hence, your body may not get sufficient nutrients because of the presence of these antinutrients.
Different processes like sprouting, soaking, and fermenting will be helpful in reducing the levels of these antinutrients to a great extent thereby increasing the absorption of various nutrients.
In addition to providing a wide range of beneficial compounds, peas, beans, and lentils can also offer a large number of health benefits for humans. They are found to help with lowering the levels of bad cholesterol, reducing the chance of type 2 diabetes, and preventing the risk of heart diseases and premature death.
Calcium is found in all nuts. However, some nuts are especially high in calcium when compared to others. One among them is almond which can offer almost 10% of the RDI per ¼ cup. Brazil nuts are also high in this mineral and can provide 6% of the RDI per 35 grams (¼ cup).
Additionally, nuts like pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, etc. can provide you good amounts of calcium as well.
Nuts are also rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Their high amounts of antioxidants and B vitamins are making them popular among people. Other important nutrients present in various nuts include copper, magnesium, selenium, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Eating nuts might also help in losing weight, reducing blood pressure, and preventing the risk of different metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Seeds are other important sources of calcium and the amount of this mineral present in them can vary based on the variety you choose.
About 20gms of sesame seeds can provide 2% of the RDI, but its butter called Tahini contains 13% of the RDI per two tablespoons.
Chia and flax seeds can also provide decent amounts of calcium which range between 5-6% of the RDI per two tablespoons.
Apart from being a good calcium source, seeds can also provide other beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, protein, and many other plant compounds that your body requires. They are also linked to many health benefits including reduced inflammation, lower risk of heart diseases, and regulation of blood sugar levels.
Grains are not generally popular for calcium. However, certain varieties can offer impressive amounts of this mineral. For example, teff and amaranth are two important grains that can provide almost 12% of the RDI.
Both of these grains are also a good source of fiber and many other nutrients. You can add them to a variety of dishes for making the intake of calcium easier.
If you are looking for the best calcium sources to include in your vegan diets, then the options listed above are a great choice for you. Including them in your everyday diet plans can help to get enough amounts of calcium required by your body.