- Chickpeas are a nutritious and versatile food rich in calcium
- Spinach and broccoli are also rich sources of calcium
- 100 grams of soybeans provide 27% daily value of dietary calcium
Vegan diet is one which restricts intake of milk and dairy products - which are considered to be one of the best sources of calcium. Also, people with lactose intolerant cannot have milk or dairy products, which makes them ponder about how to ensure optimum calcium intake. Well, there are plenty of dairy-free calcium food sources that you can bank on. Calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth. It is also essential for the proper functioning of muscles, nerve cells, and blood clotting. To maintain steady levels of calcium, calcium is often moved from bones to blood inside the body and therefore a daily recommended doses of calcium are needed in order to prevent the weakening of bones and prevention of conditions like osteoporosis.
If you are lactose intolerant or if avoid dairy products and are following a vegan lifestyle, you just need to learn how to balance your macros and micros, and calcium is one such mineral that can be obtained through a balanced plant-based diet even in the complete absence of dairy consumption.
Vegan diet: Here are the top plant-based sources of calcium:
1. Soybeans and its products
100 grams of soybeans provide 27% daily value of dietary calcium. Soybeans are categorized as legumes and there are various soy products available like soy flour, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soybean oil, or soy chunks. Soy milk can be a suitable replacement for dairy milk especially for tea, coffee, or smoothies.
100 grams of broccoli yields around 50 milligrams of calcium. 2 cups of broccoli contain the same amount of calcium as one glass of milk but with a better absorption rate that means the calcium from broccoli is more readily absorbed by the body when compared to calcium absorbed from milk.
3. Finger millet (Ragi)
One of the healthiest millets, it is loaded with so many vital minerals including calcium. 100 grams of ragi offers about 344 milligrams of calcium. It also contains many phytonutrients and polyphenols and helps controlling blood sugar levels. It is also gluten-free and extremely nutritious. Ragi is also one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D.
4. Sesame seeds
100 grams of sesame seeds contain about 97% of the daily value of calcium especially unhulled sesame seeds. They can add a delectable and mild crunch to any preparation. These tiny seeds also contain magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. Sesame seeds are also loaded with the goodness of protein. The best way to consume sesame seeds is by dry roasting and sprinkling them over your vegetables, soups, or salads. Tahini paste made of sesame seeds is a great choice too.
This annual legume has to offer about 105 milligrams of calcium for 100-gram value. Chickpeas are well-admired to be one of the best sources of vegan protein and are also rich in iron, copper, folate, and phosphorus making them a perfect vegan superfood. Chickpeas can be boiled or sprouted and can be consumed in the form of soup, salad, or can be turned into a thick gravy.
This versatile leafy green offers about 100 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams making it around 250 milligrams of calcium in one cup of cooked spinach. A point to note is that apart from calcium, spinach also contains oxalate that may interfere with the absorption of calcium. The best way to reduce oxalate content from spinach is by boiling it which may get down oxalate content by as much as 90%.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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