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Part 1 – Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D
If you are eating a healthy plant based vegan diet you will likely end up eating much more fruits and vegetables as part of that diet, thus increasing naturally your intake of a variety of nutrients.
In spite of this, there are a few essential nutrients that are not quite as easy obtainable or able to be well absorbed from plants as opposed to animal products.
It is important to ensure that you get these nutrients when you transition to a vegan diet.
These include Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and fatty acids such as Omega-3. Selenium, Iodine and Choline may also be needed and we will deal with them in a series of posts. This is Part 1.
Here We Go ……
Where to get Calcium on a Vegan Plant Based Diet.
Calcium is needed for building strong healthy bones and teeth and for preventing osteoporosis. Non-vegans will supposedly get most of their calcium from dairy products (research this).
According to the NHS / eat well … Vegans good sources of calcium include:
- Dark leafy vegetables – Broccoli, bok choi, and kale – excluding spinach
- Plant milk and juices – soya beans, rice, oat, orange juice, etc. that have all been fortified with calcium. Be sure to opt for unsweetened versions
- Calcium – set tofu:
- Sesame seeds and tahini seeds
- Brown and white bread
- Dried Fruits – such as raisins, figs, prunes and dried apricots
In addition, we would like to specifically add, almonds, okra, baked breads, black beans, chickpeas, mustard greens, navy beans, seaweeds, tempeh, and black strap molasses. Try to get tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds.When of course you can add calcium supplements in either powder or tablet form, adding to a smoothie or plant based yogurt for example.
NIH says that Calcium and Vitamin D are Important for Every age. Well, How much do we need. No more than 4,000 IU per day as adults – Calcium.
How Do We Get Vitamin D on a Vegan Plant Based Diet
Vitamin D is used by the body to regulate calcium and phosphate levels and therefore also plays an important role in bone health. It is also important for our muscles and immune health.
I am sure you hear this over and over again – Vitamin D is obtained from the sun and your body produces some Vitamin D in response to the sunlight. You need to get at least 10 – 20 minutes of sun exposure at least 3 times a week, if not daily, when possible. Be sure to practice safe sun exposure. From October to March, however, the sun alone cannot provide us with enough Vitamin D. Them, we must incorporate some into our diet with food. It is not just Vegan Plant based people who need more Vitamin D. Most people in colder climates can be deficient in vitamin D as well, so it’s also a good idea to check your levels. If they are low take a supplement….some take a supplement all year round.
As with calcium, vegan plant based people can get vitamins from plant-based products. Those that contain Vitamin D tend to include spreads, breakfast cereals, and plant milk such as rice and soya drinks. It is important to read the label of a product to determin whether it has been fortified and to ensure it does not contain a lot of fat and sugar.
Aslo be sure the Vitamin D supplement is vegan.
There are two types of Vitamin D:
Ergocalciferol – Vitamin D2
Cholecalciferol Vitamin D3
Make sure you choose a vegan-friendly supplement when selecting one. Vegans, Vitamin D2 is always suitable, but Vitamin D3 can be obtained from. an animal source (sheep’s wool) or lichen (a vegan source). VEG1 makes a supplement just for vegas.
Also, research mushrooms – they have lots of Vitamin D.
The requirements for Vitamin D for people over 65 is 600iu. People over 50 and postmenopausal would be 400 – 800 i.u per day. People between 25 – 50 is about 400 iu. as per NIH.
See you in Part 2 where we will discuss more Nutrients that you need that are important.