How to Get Calcium on a Vegan Diet and 6 Foods to Keep Your Bones Strong

Karen Asp wrote . . . . . . . . .

How many times have you heard that you need to drink milk for strong bones? While your body does need calcium, there are better—and healthier—sources of calcium that come without the harmful effects of dairy. The marketing promoting milk and its “superior” calcium content is severely misleading. The truth is, you can get enough calcium on a vegan diet by eating calcium-rich foods.

How much calcium do I need?

Your calcium needs depend on your age and sex, says Stacie Hassing, RDN, LD, co-founder of The Real Food Dietitians, and co-author of The Real Food Table. The average adult needs roughly 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.

Yet, for women over the age of 50 and men over 71, that jumps to 1,200 milligrams per day. One point to remember? “Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium to take place in the body, which is why some foods like orange juice, milk, and some breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium and vitamin D,” she says.

Despite the incessant promotion of milk for its vitamin D content, this isn’t natural. All the vitamin D in cow’s milk is fortified, just as it is with many types of plant-based milk.

Calcium health benefits

One of calcium’s best-known benefits is maintaining and building strong bones and teeth, but it’s important for many other functions in your body. “Your heart, muscles, nerves, and circulatory system all require calcium to function properly,” Hassing says.

No doubt, maintaining healthy bone strength is important. Yes, it can help prevent broken and fractured bones when we have an accident, but it’s not just falling that can cause damage to our bones. Osteoporosis and osteopenia (the early onset of osteoporosis) cause the weakening and brittleness of bones.

The disease tends to occur in older adults as humans lose bone mass as they age (starting in their thirties), but those first three decades of your life are opportunities to build a strong foundation to prevent osteoporosis.

Approximately 10 million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from the disease, but another 43 million have been diagnosed with osteopenia or low bone mass. While other lifestyle choices can be preventative (such as regular weight-bearing exercise), getting enough calcium surely helps.

Can you get calcium without milk?

A plethora of whole foods contain calcium, but some are significantly higher than others. It’s true that there is a significant amount of calcium in some animal products including cow’s milk, yogurt, sardines, and canned salmon with bones. However, an abundance of plant-based foods are also high in calcium.

“You can get all of the calcium you need from a vegetarian or vegan diet,” assures Dr. Robert Graham, Chief Health Officer for Performance Kitchen and co-founder of FRESH Med in New York City.

What’s more, the calcium found in many plant-based foods such as dark leafy greens is more bioavailable than the calcium found in milk. The body absorbs approximately 33-percent of the total calcium in dairy, but a whopping 62-percent of the calcium in broccoli is absorbed upon digestion.

Other high calcium plant-based foods include tofu, fortified nut milks, beans, kale, tahini, sweet potatoes, watercress, okra, chia seeds, and almonds, Graham says. You can also find many calcium-fortified orange juices and cereals at the supermarket.

6 vegan sources of calcium

While the list of calcium-containing plant foods is long, Hassing offers some of the best sources for vegans.

Nuts and seeds

When deciding between nut kinds of butter, opt for the almond to get the most calcium. While many nuts and seeds contain modest amounts of calcium, almonds reign supreme at 75 milligrams per 30-gram serving (about 20 almonds).

Hazelnuts come in at a decent 56 milligrams per serving, and while slightly lower at 42 milligrams per serving, tahini is a versatile and delicious way to up the calcium intake of any meal.


Swap out the quinoa with some amaranth from time to time. With 80 grams of calcium per one-quarter cup (dry), this ancient grain adds antioxidants, fiber, and a boost of calcium to any Buddha bowl. We also love to swap out a morning bowl of oats for this berry and almond amaranth porridge.


White beans (navy beans), kidney beans, and chickpeas are the calcium powerhouses of legumes. Navy beans top the charts at 132 milligrams of calcium per one-cup serving, and kidney beans and chickpeas follow with 93 and 99 milligrams, respectively. Use all three in a deliciously hearty combination of vegan chili.

Minimally processed soy

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all stellar sources of vegan calcium.

Just one three-ounce serving of tofu clocks in 10-percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium, while tempeh supplies about 6-percent of what you need (78 milligrams per 2.5-ounce serving). One cup of edamame provides about 9-percent of the daily recommended amount.

Soy milk is also a solid option. Not only does it naturally contain calcium, but many are also fortified with up to one-third of the calcium you need per day (that’s the same as cow’s milk).

Blackstrap molasses

We wouldn’t recommend consuming a spoonful of molasses to fulfill your daily calcium needs, but this sticky substance can be incorporated in small amounts into a medley of delicious dishes.

Try whipping up a batch of nutty muhammara dip or baking a batch of this addictive pecan-walnut cinnamon granola. Just one tablespoon of the stuff contains 200 milligrams of calcium—20-percent of what most adults need each day!

Dark leafy greens

There are countless reasons to up your greens intake—calcium just happens to be among them. A humble 120 grams of broccoli (a little over a cup) delivers 112 milligrams of calcium, and the typically underutilized okra contains 77 milligrams for the same amount.

Other dark leafies such as kale, collard greens, and bok choy also contain some calcium, though not quite as much as these two options.

What about vegan calcium supplements?

You may need to supplement if a blood test shows that you’re low in calcium. Yet because the standard American diet is 65-percent processed foods, Graham generally recommends supplementation for most Americans, especially women over the age of 50. “Calcium is absorbed best when you take 500 milligrams or less at one time,” he says, adding that current recommendations call for 1000 milligrams to 2000 milligrams in divided doses, ideally taken with vitamin D.

The only way to tell if you’re chronically low in calcium is through a blood test, Hassing says. Signs that you might be low in calcium include muscle cramping, brittle nails, easy hair breakage, poor circulation that causes tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes, and an irregular heartbeat.

If you’re concerned that your levels are low, talk with your doctor about getting a blood test. For most vegans, Graham recommends eating foods that are high in calcium and/or taking a calcium supplement to get all that you need.

Source: VegNews





Swiss Startup to Launch Whole-piece Vegan Chicken Breast

Anna Starostinetskaya wrote . . . . . . . . .

Planted Foods uses a technology called “biostructering” to produce its minimally processed vegan meats, that start with proteins extracted from plants and elongated through wet extrusion before being put through a fermentation process.

To perfect its revolutionary vegan chicken breast — which is made with yellow pea protein—Planted worked with acclaimed German chef Tim Raue who will be putting the whole-cut protein on the menu of his eponymously named two Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin starting September 15.

The Planted vegan chicken breast will initially be available through restaurants and is slated to hit retailers next year.

Source: VegNews





Tips to Food-Fueling Your Active Vegan Child

Kids can take part in sports while on vegetarian and vegan diets, but parents and caregivers must help them select foods that will fuel them and meet their nutrition needs.

Vegan athletes can become deficient in vitamin B12, vitamin D, long-chain omega-3 fats, riboflavin and calcium, so it’s important to find good substitutes, said Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

A vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products, including dairy and eggs, while a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry and seafood.

Good carbohydrates include breakfast choices such as whole grain toast, oatmeal or roasted sweet potatoes. Anding also suggests offering vegetarian kids rice, quinoa and pasta.

While there are fewer protein choices for kids who have eliminated meat, vegetarians can get their protein from milk, yogurt, cheese or eggs. Vegans can choose soy milk, the closest nondairy equivalent to cow’s milk for protein. Another vegan protein option is egg alternatives made from chickpeas.

Beans provide both carbs and proteins, while avocados and trail mix are energy and nutrient-dense.

“Because their diets are predominantly plant-based, vegans and vegetarians can get a lot of great carbohydrates,” Anding said in a Baylor news release. “If they’re eating enough food, their energy should come from carbs since carbohydrates are the fuel of exercising muscle. They need to be more thoughtful about planning protein since it’s needed for growth and development, as well as recovery from sport.”

Anding suggests avoiding products that mimic meat. That includes highly processed frozen, vegan chicken nuggets or plant-based burgers. Instead, a black bean burger offers a whole-food alternative. Create recipes using lentils, beans or quinoa for adequate protein consumption, she suggested.

“The more we try to take something out of a product, the more processed it becomes. Vegan options that try to mimic meat are not great options,” Anding said. “When food tries to pretend, you may not get anything better, and it could possibly be worse than the original version you’re trying to avoid.”

A homemade option is vegan macaroni and cheese with nutritional yeast, she noted.

When doing cardio-focused workouts, young people should consume high-quality carbs and meet protein requirements, she said. This can include whole grain toast with almond butter or other nut butters and honey. Fuel before a workout with fresh fruit. Tofu, tempeh and other soy-based products will provide protein and help the body rebuild after exercising.

After lifting weights, young people can help repair muscle damage with protein, such as hummus and crackers; a nut butter sandwich; a high-protein, plant-based breakfast cereal with berries or bananas; or a glass of soy milk.

“Vegetarianism and veganism are not just avoiding meat. You have to make sure you’re getting quality sources of carbohydrates and protein,” Anding said. “See a dietitian and double check with a pediatrician to make sure children are monitored.”

Source: HealthDay





Vegan Food of Engawa Café (えんがわカフェ)

Vegan Pizza

Vegan Ramen

Vegan Scones

Vegan Sweets

The Café





Vegan? Weightlifting May Protect Your Bones

While a plant-based diet may be associated with lower bone mineral density and increased fracture risk, there might be a way to counteract that: pumping iron.

New Austrian research shows that vegans who lift weights or do strength training have stronger bones than vegans who only do other forms of exercise such as biking or swimming.

“Veganism is a global trend with strongly increasing numbers of people worldwide adhering to a purely plant-based diet,” said Dr. Christian Muschitz, of St. Vincent Hospital Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna. “Our study showed resistance training offsets diminished bone structure in vegan people when compared to omnivores.”

Generally, people who follow vegan diets eat only plant-based foods and avoid all meat, dairy and eggs.

To study the issue, researchers compared the data from 43 men and women who had been on a plant-based diet for at least five years with the data of 45 omnivores, people who ate meat and plant-based foods for at least five years.

The research team found that vegan participants who used weight machines, free weights or did body weight resistance exercises at least once a week had stronger bones than vegans who did no resistance training. Vegans and omnivores who did resistance training had similar bone structure.

The findings were published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“People who adhere to a vegan lifestyle should perform resistance training on a regular basis to preserve bone strength,” Muschitz said in a journal news release.

About 6% of people in the United States now follow a vegan diet, according to the study.

Source: HealthDay