This is the week in which I eat a high raw vegan diet. I ended the Daniel Fast on March 22, 2011 and took a break. An update about the fast is coming at the end of the week.
During my break time, I did some reading on the raw vegan diet. While skimming through The Raw Food Revolution Diet, I ran across some information that caught my attention.
The information is about calcium and bone health. Reading this information opened my eyes to importance calcium intake and bone health.
Why Calcium is Important
Calcium is important to bone health because it is one of the key mineral players that helps build bone density. When you do not get enough calcium in your diet it can cause bone loss and you do not want that to happen. Calcium does not act alone in building bone density. There are other key vitamins and minerals that aid in building bone density.
These team players are:
Bone density reaches its peak around the time you reach 30 years old and gradually declines.
It is important to continue getting bone building nutrients in your diet as well as exercising so you do not have an issue with bone loss.
[pullquote]Greens are nutritional superstars. They are rich in carotenoids, folate, magnesium, vitamin K, and other nutrients. Many are also outstanding sources of calcium. (p. 56)[/pullquote]
The best dietary sources of calcium for plant-based diets, specifically the raw vegan diet are:
Low-oxalate green vegetables
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Napa cabbage
- Turnip greens
Note: Beet greens, spinach, and Swiss chard are not included in the above list. These greens contain oxalate, which can bind calcium (and iron). Oxalates make it difficult for your body to absorb calcium (and iron).
When you eat greens that are high in oxalates your body only absorbs about 5-8% of the calcium in these greens. Eating greens that are low in oxalates will help you absorb about 49-61% of the calcium in those greens. Be careful when eating greens and try eating more of the greens that are low in oxalates.
Recommended Daily Calcium Intake
If you are past 50 years old, the recommended daily allowance for calcium increases to 1200 mg.
You can get the recommended daily allowance of calcium eating a raw vegan diet in many ways. You must eat a variety of foods that help you meet your daily calcium intake.
Here is an example of how you can meet the recommended calcium intake of 1000 mg over the course of a day:
- 3 oranges, 8 figs, 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) of almonds, 8 cups of green salad made from romaine lettuce and some low-oxalate greens.
You are probably thinking that 8 cups of green salad is a lot to eat in one day, but it really is not because you can eat these greens in many ways.
You can have a green juice, a green smoothie, and a green salad to meet the 8 cup recommendation. There are many ways you can get these greens in; be creative.
Eating a variety of raw foods throughout the day can easily help you meet your calcium need.
You can also take a calcium supplement a few times a week along with the variety of foods you are eating.
If you eat a variety of foods and add a supplement, then you should not have problems meeting your daily calcium recommendation eating a raw vegan diet. You should also incorporate weight-bearing exercise and exercise regularly.
Note: Even if you are not a raw vegan or eat a plant-based diet, you can still benefit from adding more leafy green vegetables to your diet.
The information used for this post is from The Raw Food Revolution Diet.