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Calcium: Strong bones on a whole plant diet?

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Calcium is not only needed to build strong bones, it is also needed for the proper functioning of our blood vessel which help regulate blood pressure. Also, it is needed for proper muscle function and in other essential functions in the body. Having adequate calcium in our diet is very important. So, how does a whole plant diet measure up as a good source for calcium?

Guess what? Calcium is present in vegetables too. Well known vegetable sources with high levels of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables like collard greens, spinach, turnip greens and so on. Other sources are beans such as garbanzo, kidney, lentils. Calcium can also be found in broccoli, sweet potatoes and so many others whole vegetables.

If you are concerned about calcium intake for you or your children, it would be wise to first increase your vitamin d level as well. Vitamin d aids the absorption of dietary calcium. Safe exposure to sunlight is the best source of vitamin d. Alternatively, plant sources of vitamin d include mushrooms (especially those grown under UV light). Another obvious source is from vitamin d supplements that are in store relatively inexpensive and readily available. Other sources are vitamin d fortified cereals and fortified plant based milk and their products. However, the amount of sugar often added to some of these products makes them less desirable.

The myth that consuming large quantities of calcium is mandatory over our lifespan has been refuted by studies that showed that countries where people consume large amounts of calcium suffer more fractures. These studies looked at high dairy calcium intake. I grew up with and intolerance to dairy, still I grew up tall and strong with no fractures. So, perhaps it is best to have calcium in moderation because the human body has the profound ability to pinpoint and absorb what and how much nutrition it needs from our diet.

Remember that most of the world's population becomes lactose (dairy sugar) intolerant after infancy - most of the world does not drink milk in such large quantities.

You will be just fine with your whole plant diet.

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