Calcium supply with a vegan lifestyle
Milk is seen in the media as a source of calcium. In this blog post, we show you that you can also get enough calcium from plant-based foods.
Calcium - the mineral for bones
Calcium is the most important mineral in the human body in terms of quantity. A healthy man has around 2 - 2.5% of his body weight in calcium. This corresponds to a weight of around 1.5 kg. Of this amount, 99% is found in the bones or in the teeth.
Calcium is therefore an important building block of teeth and bones. As a component of bones, it provides the body with the necessary stability. The mineral also plays an important role in blood clotting and neuromuscular excitability. It also supports muscle contraction, the stability of cell membranes and enzymatic reactions..
Dangers of insufficient intake
Calcium is particularly important during growth to ensure optimal bone development. If calcium intake is insufficient, this can lead to osteoporosis, especially with increasing age. Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease in which bone mass is reduced, resulting in a loss of skeletal mass - bone fractures are the consequence.
According to the D-A-CH reference values, a daily intake of 1000 mg calcium should be ensured. However, this requirement is often not met in people over 65 years of age.The influence of certain factors on calcium intake
Due to various factors, calcium absorption in the body can be inhibited. These inhibiting factors include proteins, phosphorus, phytates, oxalates, cellulose and saturated fatty acids.
Oxalic acid combines in the intestine with the calcium ingested to form calcium oxalate. This is a complex that cannot be absorbed and is excreted as a result. Foods rich in oxalic acid include spinach, Swiss chard and nuts. However, soaking and cooking can help to reduce the oxalic acid content.
Phytic acid also forms poorly soluble complexes with calcium. This acid is mainly contained in the outer layer of the grain. However, soaking, swelling and sprouting as well as sourdough fermentation activate the enzyme phytase. This enzyme helps to break down phytic acid, reducing its content.Furthermore, protein-rich foods also cause increased calcium loss via the urine. As milk and dairy products also contain a large amount of protein in addition to calcium, they are excreted via the urine. The sulphur-containing amino acids and phosphates in particular lead to increased calcium excretion.
Adequate calcium supply through a vegan lifestyle
The fact is that the calcium supply can also be covered by a plant-based diet. This is because many plant-based foods provide high amounts of calcium (table). However, attention must be paid to the inhibiting factors and the bioavailability of the individual foods.
Good vegan sources of calcium include broccoli, green cabbage, china cabbage, arugula and mineral water containing calcium. These are free from inhibiting factors and also have very good bioavailability.
Our Vegan Essentials also contain calcium (and vitamin D as well as other micronutrients) and can therefore contribute to an adequate supply.
Calcium content in various foods:
|Calcium content in 100 g
|Leaf spinach (cooked)
|In comparison: cow's milk
Vitamin D is of particular importance for calcium absorption. A vitamin D deficiency means that calcium cannot be absorbed in the body. It is therefore also important to ensure an adequate supply of vitamin D.
An adequate calcium supply can also be achieved without consuming milk and dairy products, as many plant-based foods have a high calcium content. However, the inhibiting factors must be taken into account here.Sources:
- Elmadfa I. and Leitzmann C. (2015) Human nutrition. Eugen Ulmer publishing house, 5th edition, Stuttgart