Let's Talk About Calcium

As we've discussed with protein and iron, calcium can be a concern with people when deciding to go plant based. Most people assume we need to get our calcium intake from dairy, but there are tons of ways to get our calcium from plants. Did you know 1 cup of kale has 101 mg of calcium? 

It is also important to note that calcium isn't calcium without its friends of Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Calcium builds strong bones, Vitamin D maintains them, and Vitamin K helps regulate the calcium absorption preserving strong bone density.

The CDC recommends:

  • Women and Men from ages 19-50 to get 1000mg of calcium a day
  • Those over 51 are recommended to get 1200mg

Now, how do you get calcium without drinking milk? From lots of places:


Breakfast - Oatmeal & Bananas

1 cup oatmeal: 187 mg

1 banana: 6 mg

BREAKFAST TOTAL: 193 mg


Post Workout Snack - Green Smoothie

1 oz (2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds: 16 mg 

1 oz (2 tbsp) flax seeds: 52 mg

1 oz (2 tbsp) chia seeds: 179 mg

1/2 apple: 5.50 mg

1 cup frozen pineapple: 21 mg

1/2" piece of ginger: 0.00 mg

1/2 cup kale: 50.5 mg

1/2 cup spinach: 15 mg

1.5 cups water: 0.00 grams

POST WORKOUT TOTAL: 339 mg


1/2 cup cooked quinoa: 15.50 mg

1/2 cup butternut squash: 33.50 mg

1/2 can black beans: 179.25 mg

1/4 cup carrots: 9.00 mg

1/2 bell pepper: 6.00 mg

1/2 cup tomatoes: 9.00 mg

1/4 cup onions: 9.25 mg

1/2 cup frozen corn: 6.00 mg

2 radishes: 0.00 mg

1/2 avocado: 12.00 mg

1/2 lime: 11.00 mg

LUNCH TOTAL: 290.5 mg


Snack - Almonds

1/2 cup whole, unsalted almonds: 189 mg

SNACK: 189 mg


Dinner - Thai Green Coconut Curry

1/3 onion: 8.33 mg

3/4 zucchini: 23.25 mg

3/4 cup mushrooms: 2.25 mg

3/4 cup cilantro: 9.00 mg

1/3 clove garlic: 1.67 mg

3/4 tbsp lemongrass: 2.25 mg

1 cup cooked rice noodles: 7.00 mg

1/3 can light coconut milk: 12.6 mg

3/4 lime: 16.5 mg

DINNER TOTAL: 82.85 mg


DAILY TOTAL:

  • Breakfast: 193 mg

  • Lunch: 290.5 mg

  • Snacks: 528 mg

  • Dinner: 82.85

TOTAL: 1094.35 mg

Also, Vega has a great chart on calcium as well. Click here for it.

And here's the breakdown of other fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. (Source: USDA)

CalciumLevels

Now, where to get Vitamin K and Vitamin D? Vitamin K is abundant in cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Spinach, Chard, Brussels Sprouts, and Bok Choy are all great sources for Vitamin K.

Vitamin D can be a little tricky - fruits and vegetables don't really have Vitamin D as part of their make up. We can get some Vitamin D from the sun, but we have to be careful about how much exposure we have in the sun and we only absorb so much depending upon where we live in the world. So what to do? Well, I'm not one to recommend supplements, but Vitamin D is one of those that we plant basers need to get from supplementation. The Vegetarian Resource Group has a great chart here with other places you can get Vitamin D from (almond milk, hemp milk, etc). Click here for the link.

And for another great informational link from Brendan Brazier's website, Thrive Forward, click here for a great link with explanations about getting vitamins and minerals from foods vs supplements.