Calcium is an element that performs many important functions in our body. Most of the calcium is found in bones and teeth, therefore its deficiency may adversely affect their condition. Currently, more and more people decide to follow a vegan diet, which involves the elimination of the main sources of calcium - milk and milk products - from the diet. If the menu is not supplemented with other products rich in this element, dangerous deficiencies may occur. Fortunately, there is quite a long list of calcium-rich plants.
The role of calcium in the body is not limited to being one of the basic building materials of bones and teeth. Calcium is also necessary for the proper conduct of the blood clotting process, the functioning of enzymes, contraction and relaxation of muscles, the work of the heart and nervous system. A poorly balanced diet, as well as absorption disorders and excessive calcium excretion, may cause deficiencies of this element. In adults, this can lead to bone demineralization and increase the risk of osteoporosis. One of the main sources of this element is milk and dairy products. However, nowadays more and more people choose to remove them from the diet. That is why it is so important to learn about and introduce other products rich in this element to the menu. Plants rich in calcium can help us.
Plant sources of calcium include hazelnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pulses, and some vegetables. People on a vegan diet, people who for other reasons (e.g. lactose intolerance) eliminate milk and its products from the diet, children and adolescents in the phase of intensive growth and development, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women have the increased demand for calcium so they should be careful with eliminating certain products from the diet.
The rich sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, pak-choi, spinach, watercress, and turnip leaves. Vegetables should form the basis of our diet not only because of the presence of calcium. They are also a source of dietary fiber, which improves the functioning of the intestines, has a positive effect on carbohydrate metabolism, reduces the level of the so-called “Bad cholesterol” and helps maintain healthy body weight. Vegetables are also a source of many vitamins and polyphenols with antioxidant properties.
Legume seeds are also a good source of calcium. For example, one tablespoon of cooked white beans provides as much as 73 mg of this valuable element. The same amount of cooked chickpeas is 49 mg of calcium. During the summer, it is also worth reaching for broad beans – although they contain less calcium than white beans and chickpeas, they can still be a valuable component of our diet. It is worth remembering that legumes, in addition to calcium, also provide large amounts of zinc, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, dietary fiber, and protein.
Other vegetable sources of calcium include:
Products such as dried fruit, almonds, nuts, as well as seeds can be a valuable addition to our dishes. You can add them to porridge, millet, salads (vegetable and fruit), cocktails, and smoothies. We can also prepare chia pudding with the addition of other calcium-rich plants. The calcium content of chia pudding increases when made with almond milk (or other calcium-enriched plant-based milk). Delicious and healthy dishes can also be prepared from calcium-rich vegetables and legumes.
Examples of savory foods high in calcium:
Examples of sweet calcium-rich foods:
See some interesting secrets about products rich in calcium:
For a long time, it was believed that it is very difficult to compose a menu without milk and dairy products that provide adequate amounts of calcium. However, with the growing interest in a vegan or lactose-free diet, it turned out that there are also many calcium-rich plants. Particular attention to these plants should pay those who eliminate milk and milk products from the diet, as well as the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children and adolescents in the phase of intensive growth and development.
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