People who follow a plant-based diet do so because plants provide a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining our health and preventing many health disorders. Eating a plant-based meal will help to lose weight, control diabetes, prevent some forms of cancer, and improve your heart health.
Eating plant-based food doesn’t mean you are getting all the essential nutrients. You need to follow a healthy plant-based diet that contains foods which provide all the necessary nutrients. When you switch to a vegan diet without any preparation, there is a risk of calcium deficiency. This because dairy products are the greatest source of calcium.
There are many plant-based foods that are rich in calcium. Here is the list of some of the calcium-rich plant-based food.
Beans And Lentils
Beans, lentils, and peas are a great source of calcium. In addition to that, they are also a great source of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, and potassium. However, they also contain antinutrients that could lower the ability of your body to absorb other nutrients. You can reduce the levels of antinutrients in beans and lentils by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them. You should add more beans and lentils in your plant-based diet to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Soybeans have high calcium content and adding it to your diet will provide enough calcium for your bone health. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of calcium for an adult is 1000 mg and one cup of cooked soybeans provides 18.5% of it. One cup of immature soybeans, called edamame, offers about 27.6 % of the RDI. Foods that are made using soybeans are also rich in calcium. Soybeans are also a great source of protein, vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Seeds and butter made from seeds are high in calcium content. 2 tablespoons of Tahini, butter made from sesame seeds, contain 130 mg of calcium or 13% of the RDI. Keep in mind that the same quantity of sesame seeds could only provide 2% of the RDI. Chia and flax seeds are also great sources of calcium and protein. You should include more seeds in your diet because they are very beneficial in reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels.
Seaweed is also a great source of calcium. A variety of seaweed, known as wakame, provides 126 mg of calcium per cup. It is easily available in most Asian supermarkets and sushi restaurants. One of the popular seaweeds is kelp. One cup of raw kelp offers around 14% of the RDI. However, seaweed contains high levels of heavy metals, which can be harmful to your body.
Some varieties of grains contain a significant amount of calcium. One cup of cooked gluten-free ancient grains such as amaranth and teff provides 12% of the Reference Daily Intake of calcium. Both amaranth and teff are also rich in fiber.
Small amounts of calcium are present in all kinds of nuts. But the amount of calcium in almonds is higher than others. ¼ cup of almonds contains 97 mg of calcium. That is about 10 % of the RDI. The same amount of Brazil nuts provides around 6% of the RDI. The amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in nuts are also higher. Eating more nuts will help to lower the blood pressure and lose weight. They could also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Not all fruits are great sources of calcium. Some of the calcium-rich fruits are fig, orange, raspberries, blackberries, and blackcurrants. One medium-sized orange contains 48-65 mg of calcium or 5-7% of the RDI. One medium-sized fig contains 18 mg of calcium. The amount of calcium in dried fig is lower; around 13 mg. 65 mg of calcium is present in one cup of blackcurrants. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, and several other minerals and vitamins.
Leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables are rich in calcium. ½ cup each of cooked spinach and bok choy could provide around 84-142 mg of calcium. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, okra, and brussels sprouts are some of the other calcium-rich vegetables. Antinutrients like oxalates are present in vegetables that could lower our body’s ability to absorb calcium. Boiling vegetables could reduce the levels of oxalates by 30-87%.
Blackstrap molasses is made by boiling sugar cane three times. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains 179 mg of calcium. They are also a great source of manganese, vitamin B6, iron, and selenium.
Fortified Food And Drinks
Calcium is added during the making of some foods and drinks. Yogurts, cornmeal, and some types of cereals are fortified with calcium. Adding fortified orange juice and plant-based milk to your diet is also a great way to get the necessary amounts of calcium.