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Calcium in vegan diet (100% vegetarian) – Myths and facts


The most important things about calcium:

* A well-planned vegan diet will not produce calcium deficiencies.

* To absorb calcium you need vitamin D.

* The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is difficult to quantify, but is set at 1g/day for adults (ages 19 and up) up to 50 years and 1.2g per day for adults over 50 years.

This is for adults without deficiencies, or bone problems, etc. Vegans are likely to need less because of their diet free of animal products filled with salt and too much protein. Always consult your nutritionist.

Good for calcium absorption:

* Calcium is better absorbed in small amounts than in large doses. Take 6-8 times a day calcium-rich foods in small amounts. Examples: kale, cabbage, broccoli, okra, pak choi, turnip or mustard greens, fortified soy milk (calcium and vitamin D), tofu made with calcium, legumes, almonds and figs.

* Vitamin D is essential for proper absorption of calcium. We get it directly from the sun (15-30 minutes a day depending on skin color). If sunlight exposure is not enough, we have to intake supplements. Consult your nutritionist.

* Sport and active life style helps in a good absorption of calcium.

Bad for calcium absorption:

* Oxalates and phytates presents in some vegetables cause less calcium absorption. For example spinach, beet greens, chard, and rhubarb have so many oxalates that they can not be considered as sources of calcium.

Calcium losses:

* Each gram of protein in the diet causes a loss of one milligram of calcium.

* Each gram of sodium causes a loss of 23-26mg of calcium.

* Large amounts of coffee (more than 3 cups a day) or soft drinks can cause calcium losses.

* Osteoporosis depends on many factors of diet and lifestyle, not just lack of calcium. Phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium … sport, no smoking, active life …

Most common foods rich in calcium (mg of calcium for each 100g of food):

* Tahini: 426 | Hard Tofu: 345 | Almondss: 269 | Dried figs 162 | Cabbage boiled 141 | Turnip greens boiled 137 | Mustard greens boiled 118 | Soy beans boiled: 102

* See full list of calcium-rich plant foods and their absorption.


* Having an active life, to run, to walk, to lift weight…

* Avoid excessive consumption of proteins (always covering the Recommended Dietary Allowance).

* Moderate consumption of sodium and salty foods like miso, tamari, soy sauce…

* If we have special calcium needs, always consult with a nutritionist.

* Carry a diet as varied as possible: fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, nuts, seeds…

* Make blood tests from time to time to see that everything is fine.

More info:

* Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It gives hardness to the bones and teeth.

* It is essential in wound healing, muscle relaxation, transmission between nerve cells, regulation of cellular metabolism and is believed that prevents hypertension.


U.S. Agricultural Research Service Nutrition Data Releases.

Davis, Brenda and Vesanto, Melina. Becoming Vegan: the complete guide to adopting a healthy plant-based diet. Book Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN: 1570671036.

NutricionVegana.com/en: Please note that the information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. The admins of the website are not doctors or nutritionists (but the info is aproved by nutritionists, of course). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. That is why we ask that you consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet and that you take into account the treatment that has been prescribed, if you have. Nutritionists can help you to take a well-planned vegan diet.

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