18 Nov How do Vegans Get Calcium and Protein?
There are some nutrients that the body cannot simply do without. When they are deficient, the body is vulnerable to illnesses and certain conditions. Among these vital nutrients are the mineral calcium and proteins. The body absolutely needs these nutrients. Calcium and proteins are abundant in animal-based foods. Therefore, vegans have to find alternative food sources to meet the dietary requirements.
Vegans and calcium
Calcium is an important mineral for the body. It is vital for strong bones since it makes them firm and rigid. There are other body functions that need calcium to function. These include nerve and muscle function and blood clotting. When the body is low on calcium, it will use the amount in the bones for other critical functions. The common and popular source of calcium is dairy, specifically cow’s milk. However, this is not the only source. If it were so, vegans would be having a very difficult life.
Fortunately for vegans, there are substitutes to dairy sources of calcium. These foods include:
- Blackstrap molasses
- Tofu processed with calcium sulfate
- Tofu processed with nigari
- Calcium-fortified orange juice
- Commercial plain soy yogurt
- Cooked collard greens
- Cooked turnip greens
- Cooked kale
- Cooked mustard greens
- Cooked Bok Choy
- Cooked navy beans
- Cooked okra
- Almond butter
- Whole almonds
- Cooked broccoli
Vegans are very susceptible to bone fracture as compared to non-vegetarians. As a matter of fact, one particular study showed that they tend to have lower bone density than non-vegetarians. For this reason, they need to eat calcium-rich foods. Otherwise, they will suffer from weak bones.
Vegans and protein
Protein is a vital nutrient for the body. Proteins are made up of amino acids and they are essential for the growth and repair of the body. They are necessary in maintaining good health. Most if not all body processes require proteins. The best sources of protein is animal-based protein because the pattern of amino acids in such sources is similar to that of the human cells. However, it does not imply that plant-based proteins are inferior. What is important is for a vegan to consume enough protein.
The best sources of protein for vegans include:
- Soy products like Tofu, Tempeh, and Edamame which are among the richest sources of protein for a plant-based diet. Tofu is a preferred substitute for meat. In addition, soy products are rich in calcium which is also a vital nutrient for the body.
- Lentils which are rich in protein, fiber and other nutrients like iron and potassium
- Quinoa which is a complete protein
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Beans with rice
- Protein-rich vegetables especially the dark-colored leafy greens and vegetables
- Seitan made from missing wheat gluten with various spices
- Ezekiel bread
The good thing about plant-based proteins is that they are high in protein content but low in calories unlike animal based proteins.
The vegan diet raises a lot of concern when it comes to getting enough calcium and protein. Nevertheless, a vegan has a lot of options to explore when it comes to getting these nutrients.