Calcium is one of the essential nutrients that every living organism needs. It is also the most abundant mineral found in our body. Studies have shown that calcium is very essential for the health of our bones. Calcium is very essential for bone development and to keep our bones strong.
It was also found that calcium helps in muscle contraction. It plays a major role in blood clotting. According to some of the recent studies, eating enough calcium-rich foods can help in lowering blood pressure in young people.
There are so many foods that contain high amounts of calcium. In this article, we will take a look at some of the plant-based foods rich in calcium that you can include in your vegan meal.
Beans And Lentils
Beans and lentils are rich in several healthy nutrients, including calcium, protein, and fiber. There are several varieties of beans and lentils and almost all of them are good sources of calcium. Just one cooked cup of winged beans can provide 26% of your daily requirement of calcium. Also, you will get 13% of the daily requirement of calcium from just one cup of cooked navy beans.
Both lentils and beans also provide a lot of other nutrients like potassium, zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, etc. You may have to soak, sprout, or boil beans and lentils before you eat them for reducing the lectin and phytate content. These antinutrients can reduce the ability of the body to absorb nutrients.
Soybeans are one of the few plant-based foods that are very high in calcium. You will get 18.5 % of your daily requirement of calcium from just one cup of cooked soybeans. Edamame, the immature soybeans can offer way more than that, around 27.6%. Foods that are made from soybeans, such as tofu, natto, tempeh, etc. also provide a high amount of calcium.
Tempeh and natto are made from fermented soybeans. Just a 100-gram serving of tempeh can provide around 11% of your daily requirement of calcium. On the other hand, the same quantity of natto will provide 22% of your daily calcium requirement. In addition to calcium, soybeans also contain several other nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Many studies have proven that seeds and their butter contain several healthy nutrients, including calcium. Just 2 tablespoons of tahini, butter made from sesame seeds, can provide 13% of your daily requirement of calcium. On the other hand, the same quantity of sesame seeds only provides 2% of your daily requirement of calcium.
Other seed varieties, such as chia and flax seeds also contain a good amount of calcium. Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds can provide 5-6 % of your daily calcium requirement. Apart from calcium, seeds are also high in healthy fats, protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and several other beneficial plant compounds. It was found that including seeds in your daily vegan diet will help in reducing your blood sugar levels, inflammation, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
All varieties of nuts contain some amounts of calcium. With 97 mg of calcium per ¼ cup, almonds are the most calcium-rich nuts. After almonds, Brazil nuts provide the most amounts of calcium. Just 35 grams or ¼ cup of Brazil nuts can provide 2-3 % of your daily requirement of calcium.
Nuts also contain several other healthy nutrients, such as fiber, protein, healthy fats, etc. The high amounts of antioxidants in nuts can be beneficial in preventing free radical damage. You will also get a good amount of potassium, selenium, B vitamins, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, and magnesium, from nuts.
There are several vegetables, especially cruciferous and leafy greens, that could provide good amounts of calcium. For example, just half a cup of mustard, collard, spinach, turnip, bok choy, etc. can provide around 84-142 mg of calcium. The same quantity of kale, okra, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc. can provide 3-6% of your daily requirement of calcium.
The amount of antinutrients like oxalates is also high in vegetables and it will make it very difficult for your body to absorb nutrients. That is why it is recommended to cook vegetables before you eat them. When you boil vegetables, the oxalate levels will be reduced by 30-87%.
Some varieties of fruits, like figs, oranges, and blackberries can provide a high amount of calcium. You will get around 18 mg of calcium from just one raw fig. The amount of calcium is slightly low in dried figs, which is around 13 mg of calcium per fig.
Oranges are another fruit that are good plant-based sources of calcium. One medium-sized orange can provide around 48-65 mg of calcium. Other fruits that are rich in calcium are raspberries, blackberries, and blackcurrants. Fruits are also good sources of vitamin C, fiber, and several minerals.