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For a long time, the information that circulated was that the only way to incorporate calcium into our body was through the intake of dairy products. But not drinking milk does not prevent good bone health.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for good tooth and bone health and we can find high concentrations in many foods of plant origin. It is important to consider how the absorption of this essential nutrient can be maximized.
Plant-based foods with calcium
Among many foods rich in calcium of vegetable origin, the following are noteworthy:
- Kale and kale
- Sesame seeds
Of all these foods, vegetables from the cruciferous family (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) are the ones with the highest bioavailability.
But what is bioavailability? An example: 100 grams of sesame seeds, contain a little more than 130 mg of calcium; Instead, 100 grams of broccoli, contain a little less than 50 mg of calcium. However, since broccoli's absorbable fraction of calcium is more than twice that of sesame, the amount of calcium you will absorb from 100 grams of both foods will be roughly the same.
A tip regarding sesame seeds: to get the most benefit from them, it is better to consume them ground or in the form of a tahini.
How can calcium absorption be improved?
There are a few precautions that must be taken into account when eating plant foods rich in calcium, since providing this nutrient to the body is important, but it is also essential that what is absorbed goes to the teeth and bones .
1. The calcium thieves
There are some substances that hinder the absorption of calcium.
- Phytates: they are substances that are present in some cereals, nuts and legumes. Its way of "sequestering" calcium is by binding to the molecule, creating an insoluble compound that cannot be absorbed. This problem is solved by leaving the food to soak.
- Oxalates: They are substances that also hinder the absorption of calcium; They are found in Swiss chard, spinach, beets, and cocoa.
2. Have good levels of vitamin D
The sun, among many other organic functions, is what provides vitamin D and ensures that the calcium that is absorbed is directed to the bones and that it does not remain in other tissues.
3. Eat foods rich in vitamin K
This vitamin is a key micronutrient in bone metabolism. It is present above all in green leaves and crucifers.
4. Be careful with the salt
Especially the refined one or the one that comes from processed products, since a high sodium intake causes an increase in the elimination of calcium through the urine.
5. Do physical exercise
It is essential to move and play sports, since in this way you help calcium to deposit properly in the bones. It has been shown that those people who perform physical exercise on a regular basis (mainly strength exercises) have a higher bone density compared to sedentary people.
Here is more information and some healthy vegan recipes for good bone health: