When transitioning to a vegan diet, it’s important to be mindful of your nutrition. Making sure your diet includes the right amount of calcium is essential. Here are six great vegan calcium sources so you can make sure you get the nutrients your body needs.
The Importance of Calcium
Calcium is one of the main minerals that your body requires to function properly. It helps your muscles to move, and it helps improve and maintain your bone health and structure as well.
The recommended daily amount for calcium, also known as the Reference Daily Intake (RDI), is 1000 mg per day for most adults. This number can vary for different age groups, with those older than 50 and younger than 18 needing more.
Top 6 Vegan Calcium Sources
Calcium deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies, especially in those who avoid dairy. As a result, it’s important to find other ways to incorporate this crucial mineral in your diet, such as increasing your intake of these six calcium-rich vegan foods:
Tofu, soybeans, and other soy-based foods such as tempeh or natto are often seen as the foundation of a vegan diet. It also happens to be one of the best sources of calcium for vegans.
Tofu can contain as much as 350 mg of calcium per 3.5 ounces. That’s nearly 35% of recommended daily intake. Other soybean-based foods such as edamame (immature soybeans), can contain up to 27.6% of the RDI for adults. Soy also offers a milk substitute, which when fortified with calcium, can contain as much as 300 mg of calcium in every 8 ounces—the equivalent of dairy milk.
Due to its versatile nature, tofu is easily incorporated in a meal with other calcium-rich ingredients, helping you to achieve your daily intake with ease.
Beans & Lentils
Chances are, beans and lentils probably already make up a large part of your diet as a vegan. After all, they’re rich in protein and fiber, two nutrients necessary for a healthy diet and body. Bean, lentils, and peas are also great sources of calcium!
Beans, lentils, and peas can provide anywhere from 4% to 26% of your RDI for calcium. This, paired with their versatility, makes them a great addition to any meal.
All tree nuts can provide a beneficial amount of calcium to help you reach your daily goals. However, almonds are one of the most calcium-rich nuts, with 97 mg per 35 grams (about ¼ cup). Almonds and other nuts can also provide a variety of other nutritional benefits, such as providing a healthy source for fats, magnesium, and other necessary vitamins.
Seaweed and kelp may be uncommon in traditional Western dishes, but they provide a surprisingly large amount of calcium. Seaweed can provide up to 12% of the RDI per cup, while kelp can provide up to 14%.
While you most often find seaweed in sushi, it can also be purchased from most grocery stores and used in a variety of dishes.
Excessive amounts of seaweed and kelp can be harmful, however. This is due to the large amounts of iodine found in these foods. As a result, while adding the occasional seaweed to your salad or dried kelp flakes to your dish can be beneficial, you’ll want to source most of your calcium from other foods.
Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, figs can provide the perfect versatile ingredient—all while providing a healthy source of calcium. A single fresh fig can provide as much as 18 mg of calcium.
If you’re struggling to meet your RDI through natural foods alone, fortified foods can provide an accessible source that aren’t supplements. Fortified foods, such as soy milk, have been modified to increase the available calcium or other nutrients while also making it easier for your body to absorb. This can help ensure you meet your daily nutritional requirements. Some fortified foods can provide up to 30% of your RDI. Be sure to check labels as you shop!
Visit Willow Bistro Today
Willow is a cozy vegan bistro in Chelsea, NYC. We offer an innovative twist on classic American comfort dishes by elevating traditional bistro dishes with high-quality plant-based ingredients and upscale presentation.
Whether you join us for a meal in our restaurant or indulge at home, we look forward to serving you a delicious, memorable vegan meal.