Calcium on a plant-based diet

How do I get calcium on a plant-based diet? Plant-based diets are gaining traction and have been featured heavily in the media as a way to save the world. A common concern when transitioning to a more plant-based diet is how to meet the recommended intake of micro nutrients, more specifically calcium as it is the most abundant mineral in the body. Our body maintains the levels of calcium regardless of dietary intake.

Why is calcium important?

Our bones contain 99% of calcium where it provides the rigid framework of the skeleton. Muscles attach to the skeleton and are dependent on calcium for movement. Bones also act as a reservoir for calcium to be used when there is a need for hormonal function.

What is the recommended daily intake?

Recommended daily intake depends on the lifespan and age of the individual. See Table, more details here :

Lifespan Age RDI mg/day
Infants 0-12 months 210-270
Children 1-8 years 500-800
9-11 years 1000
12-18 years 1300
Men 19-70 years 1000
>70 years 1300
Women 19-50 years 1000
51-70 years 1300
>70 years 1300

What should I eat to meet my recommended daily intake?

Here are 9 sources of plant-based foods that are high in calcium.

plant-based sources of calcium

At home, I have taught my teens how to make basic hummus. They rinse canned chickpeas (2X400g cans) under running water, add 1 clove of garlic, a tsp of cumin seeds, some peppercorns, lime juice and blend using water to thin as required. Salt is added to taste. Chickpeas are a great source of calcium with 200g of canned chickpeas giving you 90mg….win-win!

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