There's a lot more to vegan bone health than calcium. Here's the quick and dirty on eating for healthy vegan bones, plus recipes!
Vegan bone health: calcium and beyond!
When we talk about vegan calcium, what we're really worried about is bone health, right? The "Got Milk" ads hammered the calcium-bone health connection into our brains.
What they leave out, though, is that calcium is only one piece of the bone health puzzle. And cow's milk isn't the best place to turn for healthy bones.
Bone health is a lot more complicated than taking a calcium supplement. Though many vegans and omnivores alike should probably be taking one if we aren't getting the recommended 1000 mg per day.
For healthy bones, you should get enough calcium, but you should also focus on:
- vitamin C
- protein (source: Ginny Messina)
The good news is that you can get these bone health essentials easily from plant-based foods. Here are five foods to eat for healthy bones, plus recipe ideas for each one.
The musical fruit is a protein party! Beans also give you a healthy dose of much-needed magnesium for bone health. For example, a cup of cooked black beans provides 30 percent of your RDA for magnesium. Not too shabby!
Dark, leafy greens like kale and collards provide lots of calcium. Softer greens, like spinach and Swiss chard, are packed with potassium.
Tofu prepared with calcium sulfate (most tofu is) gives you the ol' one-two punch: calcium and protein.
A quarter block of tofu has 55 percent of your calcium needs and 13 grams of protein. It's also got 12 percent of your magnesium needs, so really it's a 1-2-3 punch!
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are easy to add to basically anything meal, and they give you a nice combo of magnesium and protein. Just grab a handful, and toss it into your bowl!
Fun fact: a medium-sized potato with the skin on has as more postassium than a banana! The skin is key, since a lot of the potato's nutrition is in that skin.
That humble potato also provides 26 percent of your daily potassium, 12 percent of your magnesium, and 28 percent of your vitamin C.
It also has 4 grams of protein. What!
Navigating the research when it comes to vegan calcium is a little bit tricky. The info below comes from three sources that I trust for vegan nutritional information:
This post is another installment in my dive into common vegan nutrition questions. I've learned so much researching these! You can also read my post about vegan iron-rich foods.