Calcium Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet If You Are Lactose Intolerant or Vegan

A well-balanced diet rich in Calcium and Vitamin D that helps in it's absorption is required for healthy teeth and bones, especially for growing children and adolescents. We all grew up believing in the undeniable calcium & lactose relationship. Calcium rich foods that we knew about were primarily dairy sources. Above all, remember the glass of milk we all had to gulp down before work or play? A calcium rich diet helps in healthy development of bones and teeth. Moreover, it helps regulate heart and muscle function. Therefore, studies show that a low calcium diet can be a cause of concern.

Increasing cases of  Lactose intolerance in India that affects approximately about three quarters of the world’s population is making it mandatory for people to look for alternative sources of calcium. Lets look at calcium rich foods to include in your diet if you are lactose intolerant or vegan.

Lactose Intolerance- the symptoms of lactose intolerance are:

In simple words, people with lactose intolerance face difficulty in digesting milk sugars (lactose) present in dairy products due to insufficient amounts of the gut enzyme called lactase. In addition, consumption of dairy products by such people may cause a range of gastrointestinal problems or feelings of discomfort like buildup of gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea and more.

However, your daily Calcium requirement (do check with your physician to arrive at the optimal amount) that helps ward off health problems associated with brittle bones can be met with alternative sources.

Lets look at some Calcium rich foods for lactose intolerant, vegans or do not like the taste of dairy:

Almonds

Though many enjoy eating them raw, soaked almonds are a great way to get your daily dose of calcium apart from other important nutrients like manganese, vitamin E and  dietary fiber. They ar easy to add to your diet. For instance, make delicious healthy, vegan and gluten-free coconut and almond barfi/ladoos or consume almond milk to get calcium-rich benefits. 



Figs

Consume whole fresh fresh or the dried variety to enjoy a healthy calcium dose. Chop up dried fruit and add to your breakfast oatmeal or add to salads. Above all, apart from being rich in calcium, figs are a great way to add alkaline foods to your diet. 



Sesame seeds 

In our earlier blog, we had covered some interesting facts about sesame seeds which come in white, off white and black variety. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of essential minerals like Manganese, Copper, Iron, Vitamin b1 and Calcium. Use them to make til ladoos, sprinkle on top of salads, knead them along with dough while making parathas or make healthy stir fries, there are many ways to include sesame seeds in your diet. In addition, to many health benefits, sesame seeds are gluten free.



Green Leafy Vegetables

"Eat your greens and keep it clean" is a quote that holds a lot of meaning. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, methi leaves, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, bok choy and more are good sources of calcium. Therefore, use them in stir fry recipes or make tasty main course dishes- aloo- methi, spinach with healthy tofu/white beans and more. 


  
White beans

White beans can be easily added to our daily diets- make healthy white bean soup or rustle up spinach and white bean gravy as main course. Apart from calcium, white beans are a great source of potassium, protein and fiber.



Oranges

A great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C & A, Oranges are a good source of calcium too. Consume a cup of orange juice (preferable, organic) to get your daily calcium dose or add them to your salads. In addition, cold pressed carrot, orange and ginger juice is perfect to energize your body. If buying from grocery stores, look for the calcium-fortified variety.



Tofu

Now easily available in super markets, Tofu is a good source of calcium and muscle building protein. Add tofu to stir fry recipes, salads or try an appetizing tofu bhurji by replacing eggs- it tastes delicious. 



Sweet Potatoes

Rich in potassium, vitamins A & C and calcium, sweet potatoes can be eaten baked or as a healthy snack. For a quick sweet potato snack recipe, click here



Oats

Oats is a great way to meet your daily calcium requirement at breakfast. Use almond/soy milk to make your oatmeal and top with slivered almonds to get more calcium. Research says, consumption of oats help maintain heart health by lowering cholesterol levels, help maintain blood sugar levels, help relieve constipation, aid in weight management by providing fiber that helps you feel full longer & are excellent for skincare too. To choose the best variety that helps meet the dietary requirement of your family read our previous article



Bhindi/Okra

Bhindi also known as Okra is a lesser known source of calcium apart from vitamin A & K, folate & manganese. Make it into a an easy vegetable dish and enjoy!

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