Awareness, Health Benfits

How Do Vegans Get Protein and Calcium?

Veganism is more than making food choices. People choose to be vegan for various reasons such as health, animal cruelty, and ethical & environmental issues. They avoid eating meat and dairy-based products and completely rely on a plant-based vegan diet.

When most of us talk about the best protein and calcium sources, eggs and milk are on top of our minds. But plenty of plant-based sources should be a part of your vegan diet, as all of them are packed with calcium, protein, and fiber.

What is the common myth about vegans?

The common myth about vegans is that they don’t get enough protein and calcium in their diet. People believe that including animal and dairy products are essential to get a sufficient amount of both compounds.

But being vegan doesn’t limit the goodness of nutrients you can consume from the food. You can be a vegan, and enjoy meatless and dairy-free while getting all the nutrients you need to have a normal, functioning diet.

Why do we need protein and calcium?

According to Recommended Daily Allowance by NHS, the required calcium intake for an average adult aged 19-64 is 700 mg and 50 gm of protein intake every day.

Over the years, there is a misconception that protein will make us fit, lean, and increase muscle mass, but it’s not true. If you’re not doing exercise, then the protein intake will be stored as fat.

It is important to include calcium in your diet to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also crucial for muscle contraction, blood clotting, nerve function, etc.

There is plenty of plant-based food that you can include in your vegan diet to take enough calcium and protein intake daily.

A well-planned vegan diet can give you fulfillment while enjoying a longer, healthier life. A Vegan diet provides many benefits:

  • It helps in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • It provides more vital nutrition.
  • It decreases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
  • It helps in maintaining body weight.
  • It helps in lowering blood pressure levels.
  • It reduces the intake of saturated fats.

What are the vegan sources of Calcium?

There’s a long list of natural sources of calcium as well as fortified alternatives that are rich in other nutrients and minerals. They are easy to make a tasty meal out of it and enjoy any time. Some of them are:

  • Tofu- Tofu is the best source of getting calcium for your body. Although the calcium content varies depending on the brand you pick, you can get 350- 850mg of calcium per half cup. It is naturally gluten-free and has low calories. It has no calories and is rich in iron and calcium. Tofu is an excellent source of getting protein too.
  • Okra-  A single cup of raw Okra has 81mg of calcium. Okra is also a significant source of iron, protein, zinc, and fiber. You can enjoy Okra as boiled, fried, or roasted vegetables.
  • Kale- Only 2 cups of raw and chopped Kale provides about 181mg of Calcium. Kale is from the family of broccoli. The leafy green has antioxidants that prevent cell damage. It is low in calories. You can add Kale to a chopped salad or steam it with other vegetables as a dish for lunch or dinner.
  • Soy Mylk- About 1 cup of fortified soy mylk contains the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk. Soy mylk is rich in Vitamin D and it has less saturated fat than whole milk. It is also good for people with lactose intolerance.
  • Chia Seeds- About 2 tablespoon of chia seeds provides approximately 180mg of calcium. Chia contains boron that promotes bones and muscle healthy by helping the body to metabolize calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They are the richest source plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce.

What are the vegan sources of Protein?

Finding plant-based sources of protein is not a daunting task. There are enough snacks and drink introduced every day in the world that is more and more protein-rich. Some of them are:

  • Lentils- Lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and other nutrients including potassium and iron. Lentils are considered the perfect alternative to meat. Around 1 cup of cooked lentils contains approx 17.9g of protein. Lentils are best to add during lunch or dinner. They can be consumed along with rice or salad to get extra protein.
  • Chickpeas- Chickpeas are high in protein containing around 7.8g of protein in ½ cup. They can be eaten raw or cooked. You can make a dish out of it, eat it with salad, or roast it in the oven.
  • Peanuts- Peanuts are good for protein-rich, full of healthy fats, and good for heart health. Around 100g of peanuts contains 25.8g of protein. Peanut butter is also the healthiest option to consume which provides around 4g of protein per tablespoon. A peanut butter sandwich is the best healthy meal to get protein.
  • Quinoa- A grain rich in high-protein content that provides 8g of protein per cup when cooked. It is also rich in magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. You can have it as pasta in soup or sprinkle it on salad. You can even have it in the main course as well.
  • Beans with Rice- If consumed separately, then beans and rice don’t provide complete protein. If eaten together, a cup can provide approximately 14.48g of protein. You can have the dish for lunch or dinner. You can also consume sprouted beans with wheat bread to make it an extra protein-packed meal.

Sources:

https://www.rush.edu/news/health-benefits-vegan-diet
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-calcium-sources#1.-Soy-Foods
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lentils#:~:text=Lentils%20are%20a%20great%20source%20of%20vegetarian%20protein%20and%20can,Protein%3A%2017.9%20grams
https://www.fatsecret.com.au/calories-nutrition/generic/peanuts
https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/kale?portionid=34192&portionamount=2.000
https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/okra

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