According to a study, vegan diets, although high in many important nutrients, have the potential to be deficient in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Namely, vegans often take very little calcium through their diet, and this in itself could lead to poor bone health, which further leads to an increased risk of fracture. Therefore, if you've decided to start a vegan lifestyle, you'll have to make sure your bones are protected from fractures by compensating for the lack of dairy products and meat you're not getting through your vegan nutrition.
Stock up on calcium
Milk and other dairy products are the motherloads of calcium, but since veganism does not include dairy, you'll have to find your calcium elsewhere. 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day is the recommended calcium intake for adults, so be sure to have plenty of kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, broccoli, fortified plant milk, fortified juices and firm tofu made with calcium-sulphate. In addition, napa cabbage, watercress, dried figs, sesame seeds, and tahini are all rich in calcium too. Introduce tempeh, oranges, orange juice, beans, almonds, and almond butter, and fortified plant milks into your diet as well to get the most of calcium.
Don’t forget vitamin D
Thanks to vitamin D your body can absorb and use calcium, so it’s essential that you look for foods rich in this vitamin. Sunlight is actually the best source, providing 80–90 percent of our vitamin D. If you’re a vegan and on top of that you don’t like to spend time under the sun, you should consider making fortified foods or a supplement a part of your diet to meet vitamin D needs. Look for a supplement of at least 600 IUs to your daily intake, and we strongly recommend you reconsider soaking up the sun and spend at least 10 to 20 minutes under the sun every day. It will not be bad for your skin, but only beneficial for your bones.
Pump that iron
A sedentary lifestyle is detrimental for everyone’s bones, regardless of being vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater, so make sure you start moving more. Weight lifting stresses your muscles, while jogging creates an impact on them, so feel free to include those workouts into your training to keep the muscles strong. According to research, strength training can play a significant role in slowing bone loss so don’t wait for a second longer but get your comfortable bodybuilding clothing and start pumping that iron. With strength training, you’ll target bones most likely to fracture such as those of the hips, spine, and wrists, and help offset age-related declines in bone mass.
You’ll need a lot of proteins
While protein is essential for bone strength too, you should try to keep the intake balanced instead of having too much or too little protein. Unless the intake is balanced, the strength of bones can potentially be reduced and the risk of fracture increased. Amino acids are vital for the body's well-being, and protein is made up of a variety of amino acids, especially those that the body cannot produce on its own. Proteins coming from animal sources contain the complete mix of amino acids - so if you decide to quit eating meat and dairy products, the intake of essential amino acids will become compromised. That’s why you as a vegan need to eat a wide range of vegetable proteins in order to meet the needs of the amino acids for your body. Soya products, nuts, grains and dried beans are all exceptional sources of protein. In addition, there are plenty of vegan protein options to consider if you opt for supplementation in addition to dietary changes.
Enjoy the yummy fruits and veggies
If the blood is more alkaline, your bones will be more protected. That’s why you should include plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet in order to keep the bones strong. Thanks to nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and boron, your bones will get all the essential nutrients to stay healthy. Stronger bones have been brought into connection with diets that are packed with fruits and veggies, so don’t forget to make those meals more colorful with some apples, strawberries, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, leafy greens and various other fruits and veggies.
Even though milk and dairy products are known to be responsible for keeping the bones strong, you as a vegan will also be able to protect your bones even without animal product intake. All you’ll need to do is have more fruits, vegetables, soy and tofu alongside other foods packed with calcium and protein. Pump the iron, soak up on some sun and your bones won’t even notice that the milk is missing from your nutrition.
Written by Lauren Laporte
About the Author
Lauren Laporte is a health and wellness writer at ripped.me, although she often blogs at various other places, wherever she can spread the word on plant-based living and natural healing. Although she has nothing against conventional medicine, she stills gives far more credit to nature than many conventional medical practitioners do.
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