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Switching to vegan diet? Include these 7 calcium-rich foods to make your bones strong and healthy – Moneycontrol

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Health benefits of nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, and brazil nuts offer a healthy dose of calcium. For instance, a quarter cup of almonds contains approximately 92 milligrams of calcium

Turning vegan is no longer just a dietary choice. It’s rapidly rising popularity apart, multiple studies have reiterated compelling proofs regarding its efficacy. From advocating for animal welfare to embracing a plant-based lifestyle, the reasons behind this shift vary. However, not all foods provide the necessary nutrients, including calcium, which is particularly crucial for bone health.

Even though plant-based diets are considered healthier, it is vital to ensure they are diverse and well-balanced to meet daily nutritional needs for a healthy life. Studies suggest that vegetarians and vegans run the risk of facing deficiencies in essential nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and calcium, primarily found in animal-based foods or with lower availability in plant sources.

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Moreover, the intake of omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), mainly present in fish and seafood, tends to be insufficient if you follow vegetarian or vegan diets. Hence , if you have switched to vegan diet, know that it is important to consume foods rich in minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.

Calcium holds an important position in bone health. Apart from providing structural support, it aids in muscle function, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion. Insufficient calcium intake could lead to osteoporosis, a condition characterised by brittle bones prone to fractures, posing a significant risk, especially in later stages of life.

Here is a list of vegan-friendly calcium sources to support bone health:

Sow the seeds of strength: Chia, sesame, and poppy seeds may be tiny but they pack a huge calcium punch. Whether sprinkled over salads, blended into smoothies, or baked into goods, these seeds help boost calcium intake. For instance, just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains about 63 milligrams of calcium.

Try some nutty goodness: Almonds, hazelnuts, and brazil nuts offer a healthy dose of calcium. For instance, a quarter cup of almonds contains approximately 92 milligrams of calcium.

Go green with leafy vegetables: Dark leafy greens such as  kale, collard greens are calcium superheroes. Whether tossed into salads, stir-fried, or blended into smoothies, these greens provide a substantial calcium boost.

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Whole grains to the rescue: Certain whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, and oats not only offer nutrition but also pack sufficient calcium. Using these grains as a meal base can enrich your calcium intake.

Fruitful sources: Oranges and figs, both fresh or dried, are fruits that are rich in calcium and support your daily calcium needs. Oranges offer around 55 milligrams of calcium, which constitutes about 6 percent of your daily calcium needs. This vital nutrient plays an important role in fortifying bones and preserving your bone strength.

Soy, oats and almond: Plant-based milk alternatives like fortified almond, soy, or oat milk serve as excellent calcium sources. Fortified cereals and tofu also provide an added calcium boost. A cup of fortified soy milk contains around 300 milligrams of calcium.

Add the versatile lentils: Beans and lentils are significant sources of calcium. Varieties like winged (Goa) beans, white beans, navy beans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils offer different levels of calcium per cooked cup, ranging from 4 to 26 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI). These legumes also boast essential nutrients like iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and folate but contain antinutrients like phytates and lectins, which can impede nutrient absorption. Adopting methods like soaking, sprouting, or fermenting these legumes can mitigate antinutrient levels, thereby enhancing nutrient absorption.

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