13th September 2016

 | In Blog

Sources: Calcium & Vitamin D

Through promoting a plant-based diet and the increase in veganism, the question of potential nutritional short-falls naturally arise.

A diet transitioned from regular consumption of dairy and meat products may concern some with regards to calcium or vitamin D, which are both essential for the good health of bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium are typically dairy foods (milk, cheese and yoghurt), but with careful consideration and planning, there is no reason why a healthy adult cannot meet the recommended 700mg calcium per day with a highly plant-based or vegan diet.

Plant-based sources of calcium include:

  • Fortified non-dairy milks (simply check the labels to ensure calcium has been added)
  • Sesame seeds (and tahini) and almonds
  • Dried fruits such as prunes, figs and apricots (remember 30g is considered a portion)
  • Breads (white and brown flours in the UK have added calcium by law)
  • Beans and pulses
  • Vegetables – dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, edamame
  • Tofu
  • Fresh oranges

almonds

Vitamin D is synthesised naturally from sunlight, typically between the months of April to September in the UK. It is essential to include food sources of vitamin D in your diet as it is highly unlikely sunlight alone can meet your daily requirement all year round. In fact, new UK recommendations have been recently published (July 2016) encouraging the routine supplementation of vitamin D during Autumn and Winter – 10 micrograms per day, due to common seasonal deficiencies.

Foods high in vitamin D include oily fish, eggs, meats and dairy, however plant-based sources include:

  • Fortified non-dairy milks (simply check the labels to ensure vitamin D has been added)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified fat spreads and margarines
  • Suitable vitamin D supplements (most vitamin D3 is extracted from sheep’s wool, so check the sources), e.g. VEG1 Multivitamin is recommended by The Vegan Society

cereal

If particularly conscious of increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, why not try the following example day:

Breakfast: Fortified cornflakes with handful of raisins and fortified soya milk

Mid-morning: Fresh oranges

Lunch: Hummus and salad sandwiches

Mid-afternoon: Sesame snaps (sweet sesame crackers) and a milky coffee

Evening meal: Tofu, broccoli and bok choy stir fry (sauce made with soy sauce, tahini, ginger and chilli)

Evening: Fortified soya yoghurt

Susanna Author:

UK registered Dietitian • Obsessive foodie • Plant-based blogger • Recipe magician • Free-from

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