Published on January 19th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe4
Eating Vegan: Calcium
When folks find out that you don’t eat dairy, they often want to know where you get your calcium. It’s very easy for vegans to get sufficient calcium, if you’re eating a balanced diet. In fact, it might be easier for vegans to retain the calcium we need for healthy bones.
As Ryan, one of our readers, recently pointed out:
The calcium issue is a little more complicated than just considering dietary consumption. Maintaining adequate levels of calcium in the body is a two-step process: 1) Consuming sufficient calcium, and 2) Keeping the calcium in your body!
So very true. Certain foods block calcium absorption, and you need to make sure you’re getting adequate vitamin D, so that your body can properly absorb it. You can get vitamin D by spending a few minutes each day in the sun without sunscreen, from fortified foods, or via a vitamin D supplement. Just be careful: vitamin D is fat soluble, so it is possible to take too much. You don’t want to be getting more than 1000 IU each day.
There’s also a question about whether we really need 1000mg/day of calcium for healthy bones. Yes, our bodies need calcium, but as we’ve seen the dairy lobby plays an influential role in the U.S.’s nutritional guidelines, and we may not need as much calcium as we think.