Worried you don’t know how to get calcium as a vegan on a whole food plant-based diet? Fret not! Here’s the truth: plant-based diets actually provide a more complete nutrient profile than the Standard American Diet — and this includes plenty of calcium. Keep reading to get the scoop on vegan sources of calcium including how much calcium you need and which plant-based foods to eat.
The Full Story
There’s a common misconception that moving to a whole food plant-based diet makes it harder to get the nutrients your body needs. The two most common concerns of new vegans are whether they will get enough protein and calcium. But here’s the deal: a whole food plant-based diet provides you with all the nutrients you need (including calcium and protein).
We’ve debunked the protein myth before but it’s worth repeating: there are plenty of plant-based protein sources! Fill up on beans, tempeh, lentils, chia seeds, and nuts. Even spinach and broccoli have protein. Which explains this research showing that plant-based eaters get almost double the daily recommend protein. It’s really hard to be protein deficient so long as you’re eating whole plant-based foods.
OK, but what about calcium?
Are there plant sources of calcium?
Yes, there are plant-based foods high in calcium. And once again, if you’re eating a healthy range of plant-based foods, you’re probably getting all the plant-based calcium you need.
Why do you need calcium in the first place? It keeps our bones nice and dense (and less fracture prone), calcium is involved in blood clotting, may play a part in maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus, it’s essential in regulating muscle contractions (like the ones that keep your heart beating). All in all, pretty important stuff. But don’t go reaching for that glass of milk just yet.
Of all the foods high in calcium, milk and other dairy products have long been touted as the all-around-best source of calcium. But while milk does contain large amounts of calcium, that doesn’t mean that it’s the best source of calcium.
Contrary to popular belief, milk may have no effect (or possibly even a negative effect) on bone strength. And there’s more to milk than calcium. Milk and other dairy products contain certain health risks; milk is high in saturated fat (making it a potential cause of heart disease), and casein, the animal protein found in dairy that’s been linked to increased risk for cancer.
But if you’re not getting your calcium from milk, where can you get it?
Top plant-based vegan sources of calcium:
- Collard greens, frozen — 360 mg in 1 cup
- Broccoli rabe — 200 mg in 1 cup
- Kale — 180 mg in 1 cup
- Soybeans — 175 mg in 1 cup
- Bok Choy — 160 mg in 1 cup
- Figs, dried — 32.5 mg per fig
Broccoli — 60 mg in 1 cup
Oranges — 55 mg in 1 orange
You can also get your plant-based and vegan calcium in beans, lentils, turnip greens, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and more.
Bottom line - KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) and fill up on a variety of whole plant-based foods and you’ll get all the calcium you need
A whole food plant-based lifestyle gives you the complete nutrition your body needs — and that includes calcium! Vegan sources of calcium to stock up on include:
- Greens, like collard greens, bok choy, and spinach
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, broccoli rabe, and kale
- Beans and legumes, like soybeans and lentils
- Fresh and dried fruits, like figs and oranges
- Nuts and seeds
Bonus: if you don’t want to prep calcium-rich meals, no worries. Get plant-powered meals delivered ready to heat and eat! Stock up on high calcium dishes from MamaSezz like Veggie Loaf, Bolognese with Pasta, Eggplant Casserole, and Chia Chai Yoga-Nola Granola.
MamaSezz is the leading whole food plant-based prepared meal delivery company in the U.S. We make it easier for you to be your healthiest self by delivering hearty, fresh, ready to eat whole food plant-based meals with no B.S. (you know, Bad Stuff) right to your door.
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