Monday, July 15, 2013

Calcium: What vegan & vegetarian diets often lack



As of late, calcium has been popping up in conversations with my friends, family, and doctors. Since this mineral is of utmost importance I have decided to talk about it today in hopes to help you gain an understanding.

Especially during childhood and throughout your life, it is very important to get adequate calcium through your diet to support bone growth and density as well as muscle function, nerve transmission, and intracellular and hormonal signaling. As a very active woman involved in running, biking, hiking, etc, it is very important for me to obtain adequate calcium to prevent bone loss and maintain my bone density. Women tend to lose bone density quicker than men. This is due to a smaller frame size (less weight bearing on bones), and most importantly the decrease in estrogen during menopause, resulting in a rate of 1-2% bone loss per year. If adequate calcium is consumed throughout a women’s life, alongside a weight bearing exercise regime, bone loss can be decreased, supporting bone health into the later years of life.


However, as I have come to find eating a plant-based diet may have inadequate dietary calcium if one does not consume a lot of calcium rich foods. This can cause problems, especially if you are very active. Without adequate calcium the body is signaled to remove calcium from our bones to maintain a calcium homeostasis within our body. This can lead to weakened bones, possible fractures, and osteoporosis.  Of the plant-based diets today, a vegan diet has the highest risk of offering inadequate dietary calcium due to the lack of dairy products.  In addition plant-based diets, such as vegetarian/vegan diets, may be low in vitamin D, an essential vitamin for bone health. Not only does vitamin D help the intestines absorb dietary calcium, but it also signals bone cells called osteoblasts to increase bone formation while simultaneously suppressing bone degradation.

Interestingly, taking large supplements of calcium is not the answer either. More is not better. Research has shown a correlation between calcium supplementation and cardiovascular disease as well as kidney stones. Theories suggest the reason being that calcium supplements increase blood-calcium levels much more than calcium rich foods. Therefore, finding ways to incorporate calcium rich foods into ones diet is the safest and healthiest way to support bone health. Supplementation can be beneficial in low doses alongside diets that are inadequate in calcium. The recommended dietary allowances for both females and males ages 19-50 is 1000mg/day.

To help you navigate through your refrigerator here is a great list of common foods and their calcium content (mg).


Vegetables (1 cup cooked)


Bok Choy, boiled
158
Collard green, boiled
266
Bean sprouts, stir fried
16
Mustard greens, boiled
104
Spinach, boiled
245
Turnip greens, boiled
249
Broccoli, steamed
75
Kale, boiled
94
Broccoli, raw
42
Kale, raw
90
Beet greens, boiled
165
Swiss chard, boiled
102
Dandelion greens, boiled
147
Rutabaga greens
82
Okra, boiled
123
Rhubarb, cooked
350
Asparagus (12 spears)
41
Green beans, boiled
55
Brussels sprouts, boiled
56
Carrots, sliced, raw (1 cup)
40
Cauliflower pieces, raw
22
Celery, chopped, raw (1 cup)
40
Eggplant, cubed, boiled
6
Fennel bulb, sliced, raw (1 cup)
43
Potato, baked, w/ skin
16
Acorn squash, cubed, baked
90

Fruit (1 cup fresh)

Avocado, cubed
18
Orange (1 cup sections)
71
Blackberries
42
Orange juice, fortified
200-260
Blueberries, frozen
12
Pineapple (1 cup chunks)
21
Dates (Medjool, 5 each)
77
Raspberries
31
Grapefruit (1 cup)
51
Strawberries (1 cup sliced)
27
Kiwi
60
Mango (sliced)
16

Nuts and Seeds (1/4 cup)

Almonds
94
Walnuts (English, halved)
24
Chestnuts (roasted)
10
Sesame seeds (whole, dried)
351
Filberts (hazelnuts)
38
Sunflower seeds (dried)
27
Pistachios (dry roasted)
34
Soybean nuts (dry roasted)
60
Brazil nuts, raw
53
Cashews, dry roasted
13
Macadamia nuts, raw
28
Peanuts, raw
34
Pecans
19
Pine nuts, dried
5
Pumpkin seeds, dried
15
Coconut milk (1 cup canned)
41

Nut & Seed Butters (2 Tablespoons)


Almond, toasted
86
Tahini (sesame paste)
130
Cashew
14
Sunflower seeds
50
Sesame seed, roasted
280



Beans (1 cup cooked)


Garbanzo
80
Soybeans
261
Pinto
80
Black beans
46
Navy beans
126
Cannellini (Great Northern)
120
Black-eyed peas
211
Refried beans, canned
79
Tofu, firm, w/ Calcium
408
Tempeh
184
Fava beans
61
Kidney beans
50
Lentils
38
Split peas
27

Grains (1 cup cooked)

Amaranth, cooked, 1 cup
116
Teff, cooked, 1 cup
387
Barley, pearled
17
Brown rice, medium grain
20
Quinoa, cooked, 1 cup
31
White rice, medium grain
6
Oatmeal, regular, cooked
20
Wild rice
5
Millet,
5
Corn, yellow
12
Cornmeal, enriched
483
Oats
84
Wheat flour, whole grain
41
Wheat flour, white
19
Sesame seeds, toasted
280



Fish (3 oz)

Raw oysters (wild, raw 6 medium)
38
Salmon, canned w/ bones
181
Shrimp (cooked)
33
Sardines, canned w/ bones
325
Orange Roughly (cooked)
9
Rainbow trout, cooked
73
Salmon, Coho, wild, baked
38
Tuna, light, canned in water
9
Cod, Atlantic, cooked
12
Mackerel, canned, boneless
205
Haddock, cooked (dry heat)
36
Snapper, cooked (dry heat)
34
Yellowtail, cooked (dry heat)
25
Whitefish, cooked (dry heat)
28
Bluefin tuna, cooked
8
Halibut, cooked (dry heat)
51

Dairy & Dairy Alternatives (1 cup/8 oz)

Goat milk
327
Cows Milk
300
Almond Milk (fortified)
300
Soy Milk (fortified)
300
Evaporated milk, canned,
742
Yogurt, low fat
415
Cottage cheese (small curd, 2%)
138
Ice cream
170
Sour cream, cultured
250
Frozen yogurt, soft serve
206
Mozzarella cheese, 1.5 oz
275
Ricotta Cheese
509
Swiss cheese, 1 oz.
224
Cheddar cheese, 1 oz
204

Sea Vegetables


Agar, dried (100 grams)
625
Kelp (⅛ cup raw)
17
Irishmoss (⅛ cup raw)
7
Wakame (⅛ cup raw)
15

Miscellaneous


Dried figs, 2 whole.
62
Dried prunes, 1 cup pitted
75
Dried apricots, 3 oz.
47
Raisins, seedless, ¼ cup
21
Dates (Medjool), 3 oz.
54
Carob flour, 2 oz.
195
Blackstrap molasses, 1 tbsp
172
Maple syrup, 1 tbsp
13
Tortilla, corn, 1 medium
42
Tortilla, flour, 1 medium
37






For all my dear vegan friends, family, and readers since it is most difficult for you to obtain adequate calcium, I have decided to create a calcium rich, Asian inspired salad, great for lunch, dinner, or even as a snack. Each serving offers 31% of your daily recommended calcium, and is full of great plant protein, fiber, and a host of vitamins and minerals. If you sit outside in the sun you will also get your vitamin D!

Ginger Citrus Tofu Salad with Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
For the tofu + marinade:  
1/8 cup orange juice (fortified)
1/8 cup tamari
1/8 cup toasted sesame oil
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
1 package extra firm tofu (made with calcium sulfate)

For the Thai citrus vinaigrette:
Leftover marinade
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of ½ lime
1/8 cup orange juice (fortified)
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Sea Salt to taste

For the salad:
1/4 cup dry arame seaweed (I used Eden)
½ package Eden Soba Noodles (I used 100% buckwheat to make it gluten-free)
1 stalk broccoli, florets only
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 ½ cups lacinato kale, de-ribbed and cut into ribbons
½ cup green cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
8 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

Preparing the Tofu + Marinade: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl mix together orange juice, tamari, sesame oil, olive oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, and cayenne and set aside. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into a small baking pan without overlapping. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Put the tofu into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for 15 minutes more until browned. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the tofu and place onto a plate and allow to cool. Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and set aside.

Preparing the Thai citrus vinaigrette: Add the lime zest and juice to the remaining marinade. Continue to add the orange juice, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt to taste. Set aside.

Preparing the salad: Place the arame into a bowl covered with filtered water. Cook the soba noodles as described on the package, rinse with cold water and set aside. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds. Immediately strain the florets and rinse with cold water. Strain the soaked seaweed. Put the seaweed, soba noodles, blanched broccoli florets, carrot, kale, cabbage, cilantro, basil, and sesame seeds into a large bowl and toss. Dress the salad with the Thai citrus vinaigrette.

Serve the salad topped with baked tofu and garnished with sesame seeds.


Resources:
Bastyr Clinic. Calcium Content of Foods. 2010
Mahan L, Escott-Stump, S, Raymond J. Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 2012
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...