There's some controversy over just how much calcium vegetarians and vegans need. Some experts, such as Walter Willett, M.D. of Harvard University and Neal Barnard, M.D. of Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine believe that when you eat a mostly plant-based diet, the body requires less calcium than current recommended intakes of 1,200 - 1,500 mg a day. That's because protein tends to leach calcium from bones; the higher your protein intake, the greater your calcium requirement. Because plant-based diets are lower in protein, there's less need for calcium. But, again, this is an area of much controversy. To be sure you're getting enough calcium, try to include these calcium-containing foods in your diet:
- Tofu (if processed with calcium sulfate)
- Calcium-Fortified Juices
- Turnip Greens
- Calcium-Fortified Soymilk
- Sweet Potatoes
- Bok Choy
If none of these foods are a regular part of your vegan diet, then you'll need to opt for a calcium supplement that provides 1,000 mg of calcium a day.