Where do vegetarians get calcium? One of the most popular questions for those who follow vegetarian diet. It also worries most of the vegetarian beginners and those who can't digest lactose.
We are told from childhood that milk is the main source of calcium and it's necessary to drink it. Otherwise, we won't have strong bones and healthy teeth. And this belief is so firmly entrenched in our minds that drinking milk seems quite natural to us. Most of us do not even think of the other ways where to get calcium, while there are many alternatives and truly useful sources of calcium. We'll talk about them today.
What non-milk products contain calcium?
To begin with, there aren't much calcium in milk after all - 125 mg in 100 ml. This also pertains to cottage cheese and to other dairy products. For comparison, sesame seeds and poppy seeds contain 975 mg and 1450 mg of calcium in 100 g , respectively. But unlike milk, small grains don't contain hormones, antibiotics and other "wholesomenesses". Though, ubiquitous advertising and media propaganda are doing their job. If you are told that milk is a pledge of healthy bones and teeth from all sides, then why look for an alternative? That's why so many people still consider dairy product shelves as a storehouse of calcium. They are not even confused by the fact that the residents of countries where dairy products are much consumed fall ill with osteoporosis more often . Moreover, the body does not fully absorb calcium from milk, but only 30% of it, that means that the benefits of milk are very doubtful. The same pertains to dietary supplements with calcium.
That's why we suggest you to look a little broader and pay attention to products of plant origin. Poppy, sesame, arugula, broccoli and kale cabbage, greens and some fruit contain much more calcium that is easily absorbed by the body. For example, from oranges you can get 2050 mg of calcium , from apricots - 782 mg, from apples - 315 mg, from kelp - 168 mg, from broccoli - 250 mg.
Though, you should be more careful with some vegetables . Thus, turnips, beetroot, rhubarb and spinach besides calcium are enriched with oxalic acid which impedes the absorption of calcium. Of course, it will be absorbed , but you will have to eat more of such products.
Why do we need calcium?
First of all, calcium is essential for healthy and strong bones as almost all of its reserves are in them. And only a small part of calcium is contained in the blood, that is responsible for muscle contractions and palpitations.
Adult daily norm of calcium is about 1000 mg, and for children and pregnant women it's 1200-1400 mg. It is said that vegans only need 600 mg of calcium, as they do not eat food that increases calcium excretion or impedes its absorption.
If we get enough calcium, we have strong, beautiful teeth and do not have problems with our bones. Though, there is one important condition - full assimilation of calcium , but to achieve it you will need phosphorus and vitamin D. The latter is known to be produced under the sun, so one should walk outdoors in sunny weather more often. Get a boost of vitamin D and have a good mood.
Talking about calcium, not only its quantity and its source are very important, but also how fast is it excreted from the body. Moreover, there are many factors that accelerate this process. For example, calcium neutralizes amino acids contained in proteins of animal origin . That's why eating food of animal origin leads to the fast excretion of calcium. The same pertains to salt, phosphate (which is contained in soda) and caffeinated drinks, including tea. It turns out that a cup of strong and fragrant drink in the morning dehydrates our body, and even influences our body reserves of calcium. It's very doubtful that you should drink coffee with milk to neutralize this process. As you can see, milk contains very little calcium compared to other products and is not able to restore its balance.
Let alone smoking and daily stress, which "eat up" calcium thereby hitting our health. If possible, try to avoid stress and carefully monitor your diet. Otherwise, you could eat sesame paste with poppy seeds like a horse, but it won't bring you positive results.
If talking about bones and joints, let us not forget about regular physical exercises , which are necessary for maintaining good health. It does not matter what kind of physical activity you will choose - yoga, jogging, anaerobic exercises or at least morning workout. The main thing is to take up sports . Your bones won't grow stronger if you lie on the coach and lead a sedentary lifestyle, no matter how much calcium do you eat.
In conclusion, we want to note that the excess or lack of calcium affects the acid-base balance in our body that could lead to various diseases. That's why one shouldn't wait for deviations in one direction or the other, as it is better to take a blood test and to figure out real indicators. Then you can adjust your diet and move in the right direction.