7 Ways for Vegans to up Their Calcium Intake ...

Are you looking for ways for vegans to get calcium? Perhaps your child wants to turn vegan, or you are lactose intolerant. The main way in which we get calcium is from dairy products, so cutting those out of your diet can make you wonder how you will get enough. Fortunately, there are a lot of foods that contain calcium, so with sensible planning your bones won't be at risk. Here are just some ways for vegans to get calcium …

1. Fortified Products

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One of the best ways for vegans to get calcium is to consume fortified products. Soya milk often comes with added calcium, although you should check the packaging as not all brands do have this addition. If you eat cereals, look out for brands that contain extra calcium. Orange juice is another product that may be fortified.

2. Greens

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We already know that we should be eating plenty of green leafy vegetables for their vitamins and iron content. They're also good for calcium too - try kale, broccoli, peas and collard greens. If you're not keen on them as a side dish, you could try making them into soup. This often makes vegetables that you're not fond of much more palatable. Some greens are also good in quiches.

3. Blackstrap Molasses

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You may already be familiar with the taste of blackstrap molasses from baked beans. The canned variety are high in refined sugar and salt, so get more calcium by making your own baked beans with blackstrap molasses. You can also use it to make cookies and cakes.

4. Soy Products

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I've already mentioned soya milk with added calcium. Other forms of soy should also be included in a vegan diet, since soy beans are a good source of calcium even without the added extra. Look for tofu, tempeh (made from fermented soy beans) and TVP. As well as stir frys, you can also use tofu in other recipes such as vegan mousse.

5. Fruit

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Surprisingly, fruit can actually be a good source of calcium, especially dried fruit. Try dried figs, dried apricots, and dates. These are good as snacks, or you can add them to muesli. They can also be added to cakes. As for fresh or cooked fruit, try oranges or rhubarb. If you have access to exotic fruits, you could even try prickly pears.

6. Tahini

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Tahini is made from sesame seeds and has a strong flavor. It's found a lot in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine, and can be served alone as a dip or spread. Use it to make the delicious dessert halva, or for a simpler recipe whizz it up with some garbanzos to make hummus.

7. Beans

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If you're vegan or vegetarian, you'll already be aware that beans are an excellent source of protein. But they have another benefit for a vegan diet, as like soy beans they have quite a lot of calcium (how much they have depends on the variety). Beans are a versatile ingredient that can be used to make burgers, dips and stews.

It's definitely possible to get enough calcium from a vegan diet, although you do have to eat a variety of foods to ensure that it adds up to sufficient calcium. The easiest way is to look for fortified foods, but don't rely on those alone. A vegan diet is perfectly healthy, so don't worry if someone you know wants to turn vegan. If you're vegan, how did people react when you changed your diet?

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