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Do vegans have low calcium diets? Not according to the Vegan Society who released this paper – http://www.vegansociety.com/sites/default/files/Calcium_0.pdf – claiming that a balanced vegan diet provides more than enough calcium and other nutrients to not require the use of supplements.
In the western world, an omnivore has a diet that makes consuming calcium extremely easy. If we consider the role calcium has in our day-to day lives – milk is a big player in teas, coffees, breakfasts and puddings. Other dairy products are cheap and abundant. Cheese is enjoyed on its own, or sprinkled on meals, put in sandwiches and grilled as a snack.
However, the Vegan Society argues that their diet is just as rich as the omnivore’s dairy heavy regimen – and a lot healthier.
A good vegan diet is rich in vegetables. Vegetables contain calcium and the Vegan Society recommend:
- Green leafy vegetables: spring greens, kale, broccoli, parsley. (Spinach is not a good source of calcium. It is high in calcium, but the calcium is bound to oxalates and therefore poorly absorbed.)
- Fortified foods such as soya milk
- White flour (as calcium is added by law) and white flour products
- Calcium-set tofu
- Figs and black molasses
- Drinking hard water can provide 200mg of calcium daily, although soft water contains almost none
But do vegans find it harder to get their quota of calcium every day? The report states:
“International studies measuring typical vegan intakes of calcium report that vegans generally consume about 500-940 mg daily, providing about 50-94% of recommended levels for adults to age 50, which suggests that vegan calcium levels normally fall below the amount suggested for optimum bone health. Findings from one large prospective study confirmed this showing that vegans with calcium intakes of less than 525mg per day had a 30% higher increase for bone fractures. However, the percentage of key nutrients required for adequate bone health is a complex issue as low calcium rates are not necessarily determinates for osteoporosis.”