Can I get enough calcium from eating broccoli?
March 21, 2016
Why do I need Calcium?
Calcium is an important mineral that you should be including in your diet on a daily basis. Failing to consume enough calcium increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where bones loose calcium and become fragile placing them at higher risk of fractures .To prevent this from happening, sufficient calcium in your diet as well as regular physical activity can help build strong bones.
How much calcium should I be eating every day?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend most people consume two and a half to four serves of of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat each day.1 Calcium needs for certain people may increase in different stages of there lives for example, adolescents, women over 50 years old and men over 70.
- 19-50 years old: 1000mg/day
- >51 years: 1300mg/day
- 19 – 70 years: 1000mg/day
- >70 years: 1300mg/day
Retrieved From Nutritional Reference Values
Calcium Containing Vegan Food
So clearly YES broccoli does have calcium in it and YES it will be beneficial to eat broccoli to add to your calcium intake. However it should NOT be seen as a stand-alone source of calcium, try to choose foods (refer to table above) that are naturally high in calcium or choose calcium-fortified products.
Top Tip: To find foods that are rich in calcium – check the nutrition information panel on the label of these products to ensure they contain at least 100 mg of calcium per 100ml.
So what does this actually mean to you?
From the comparison of these two tables you can easily see that it is just as easy to get calcium on a vegan diet than it is to get it on a non-vegan diet. A study by Kohlenberg-Mueller & Raschka (2003) has shown that both lactovegetarians and vegans can attain calcium balance.2 Of course you must pay attention to particular things such as eating the right quantities of certain foods as some foods are rich in oxalic acid (eg spinach, rhubarb, beans) or phytic acid (seeds, nuts, grains, certain raw beans and soy isolates) which means they may be poorly absorbed and ensuring that foods have had calcium added into it (we call this fortification) – but other than that there is no need to worry about achieving enough calcium on a vegan diet.
So in the end, if you wanted to achieve your daily calcium intake from broccoli alone, you would need to eat over 2kg of broccoli in a day. So yes, you could eat that much broccoli, but that sounds like a pretty boring (and gassy) diet to me – so mix it up with various calcium rich foods throughout the day!
If you’re wanting to take your diet to the next level, and book in to see one of our expert dietitians.