One question asked by people when becoming Vegan is, will they get enough calcium without supplementation? Yes they will, as calcium is found in most veggies, fruit, nuts, cereals and seeds. Plus the fact that plant protein does not cause calcium loss from bones, unlike animal protein. Research has shown that people who live in countries where the diet is typically plant based have little osteoporosis, even when calcium intake is lower than that in dairy consuming countries.
Calcium is not only required for bone health it is necessary for the teeth, blood clotting, metabolising iron, the transmission of nerve impulses, the regulation of the heart's rhythm and it alleviates insomnia. It is a major mineral in our bodies and is approximately 2% of our body weight.
Some examples calcium content of plant food :
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 200mg
1 cup broccoli 170mg
1 med baked potato 26mg
1 cup cubed acorn squash 90mg
1 med avocado 30mg
1 cup cubed papaya 50mg
6 dry figs 100mg
1/2 cup golden raisins 43mg
1 cup boiled white beans 150mg
2 tablespoons almonds 50mg
2 tablespoons Brazil nuts 80mg
2 tablespoons sesame seeds 170mg
1 cup quinoa 80mg
1 cup hummus 120mg
1 glass Alpro Soya Milk 240mg
8oz soy yogurt 150 to 300mg
Daily allowances (RDA's) vary by country but basically they state under 8 years - 200 to 800mg, 9 to 12 years 800 - 100mg, 13 to adult 1200mg, adult 1000mg, seniors 1200mg, Which with a balanced Vegan diet is easily achievable. Vitamin D either obtained by sitting in the sunshine for around half an hour per day or by supplementation will aid with absorption and use of calcium. If you feel the need to take calcium supplementation note that it is best taken in the evening before bed. Note that other causes of calcium loss from the body, other than animal protein, are high sodium intake, caffeine, and smoking. Some medications also affect calcium absorption and calcium loss so check with the pharmacist when filling a script.
On the other side of the coin, the well-known author and supporter of the raw-Vegan lifestyle, David Wolfe states "Calcium does not build bones. This is one of the biggest misconceptions ever." He believes that silicon and magnesium are the keys to increasing bone density and we should stop taking calcium and start taking them to increase our bone density. Read Use Tips from David Wolfe to Increase Bone Density. and decide for yourself.
Toasted Quinoa Salad
From Chet Day by Karen Railey
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley or cilantro
2 sliced green onions
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime (or 1 - 2 tablespoons of each)
1-1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 teaspoon chili sauce (tobasco) (or use a pinch of cayenne, a few red pepper flakes, etc.)
Rinse quinoa and drain. Put in a pot and dry toast until a few grains begin to pop. Add 1-1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool. Mix carrot, red pepper, parsley and green onion in large bowl. Add cold quinoa and toss to combine, Whisk together lemon and lime juices, tamari, garlic and chili sauce. Pour over salad and combine well. Chill until serving time. This recipe can be fun. Try throwing in a few fresh raw peas, some fresh raw corn, fresh sliced raw green beans, etc.