Finding calcium elsewhere

By Emily Devon

Each day more and more people are switching to a vegan diet. This in turn, has a major impact on retail pharmacy.

In the March issue of Retail Pharmacy magazine, Deputy Editor Margaret Mielczarek put the microscope on plant-based nutrition within supplements and vitamins.

A Roy Morgan report from 2018 showed that 12.1% of those surveyed in Australia had “diets of which the food is all, or almost all, vegetarian, up from under 11.2% four years ago in 2014.”

Accredited practising dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia Charlene Grosse says that, “vegetarian and vegan diets can be considered healthy”, the problems lays within not having “a good balance of all food groups, or the vitamins and minerals within those groups”.

While many consumers still turn to dairy products like milk and cheese to maintain calcium levels, those partaking in a vegan diet must look elsewhere.

Top sources of calcium

Soy foods:

Soybeans are naturally rich in calcium.

One cup of cooked soybeans provides 18.5% of the RDI, whereas the same quantity of immature soybeans – known as edamame – offers around 27.6%¹.

Tempeh and natto, made from fermented soybeans, also provide decent amounts of calcium¹.

Beans, peas and lentils:

The varieties providing the highest levels of this mineral per cooked up include winged (goa) beans, white beans, navy beans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils¹.

Soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them can improve nutrient absorption¹.

Certain nuts:

All nuts contain small amounts of calcium, but almonds in particular are especially rich – providing 97mg per ¼ cup¹.

Brazil nuts are second to almonds, while walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts follow behind¹.

Seeds:

Depending on the variety of seed, will decide how much calcium you get.

Tahini – a butter made from sesame seeds – contains the most, providing 130mg per 2 tablespoons (30ml)¹.

Chia and flax seeds also contain decent amounts, providing around 2 tablespoons (20-25g)¹.

References:

¹Petre, A., 2019. Top 10 Vegan Sources of Calcium. Accessed on 16/03/2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-calcium-sources

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