Make sure you're getting enough calcium by eating these nutrient-dense foods
Calcium is a vital mineral which is responsible for muscle contractions, aiding the release of hormones and transmitting messages throughout our bodies. If we are not getting enough calcium, our body will take it from our bones, which can cause them to become weak and brittle.
Dairy products are commonly believed to be the best source of calcium – an obvious no-go for vegans. However, there are a variety of vegan-friendly foods that contain high levels of calcium which can easily be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet.
1 Leafy greens
Concentrating on upping your calcium intake is another reason to pack veggies into your diet. Broccoli, kale and pak choi not only contain calcium, but they’re also rich in other essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, C and K. These vegetables are available all year round, and can be used in a whole host of dishes, including salads, soups and stir-fries.
Tofu is a great source of protein and is packed full of calcium. It’s made from dried soybeans that have been grounded and boiled, which means it contains very little fat. This ingredient is also incredibly versatile; it can be cooked in a variety of different ways and added to a range of dishes as a substitute for meat.
3 Soy milk
If cow’s milk isn’t your cup of tea, try soy milk as an alternative. One serving of soy milk will give you 30 per cent of your daily recommended calcium intake. It also contains a high amount of protein and fibre, which is good for the heart and helps to reduce bad cholesterol.
4 Fresh and dried fruit
Dried fruit, such as figs, make a great midday snack, and contain high levels of calcium, antioxidants, fibre and magnesium. They can also be popped into smoothies, breakfast bowls, or made into delicious jams. If you prefer fresh fruit, try eating oranges to increase your calcium intake. Whether juiced or eaten whole, they are packed full of essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, B, C, copper and potassium.
5 White beans
As well as being high in fibre, protein, iron and potassium, white beans will also raise your calcium levels, as 130g contains 161mg. They make a great addition to stews and pasta dishes, and you can even add a fun twist to regular houmous by swapping the chickpeas for white beans.