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In the UK, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium intake is around 700mg and for an average adult aged 19-64 protein intake should be 50g per day; for most this is an easy task, but why do we need this amount?
Protein has become a popular topic over the last 15 years, increasing in popularity year on year as people become more aware of what they should be eating to maintain a healthy diet. A misconception about protein is that it'll make you into a lean, mean, fitness machine and increase your muscle mass - however, if you're not working out, any excess protein consumed will just be stored as fat.
One of the most important components in maintaining healthy bones and teeth is making sure to intake enough calcium in your daily diet. Not only this, calcium is also crucial for muscle contraction, nerve function, blood clotting and cell signalling. There are many conventional foods to intake protein and calcium as an omnivore, all of which are simple to incorporate into their everyday diet:
There's a common myth that vegans don't get enough protein and calcium in their diets through cutting out animal products, especially as these sources are seen as the best way to intake both compounds. Although meat and dairy are both high in protein and calcium, they are not the be-all and end-all.
Being vegan doesn't limit the goodness you can intake from food; you can still enjoy mealtimes whilst receiving the nutrients you need to have a normal, functioning diet.
There are less "complete" plant-based proteins. Complete proteins are proteins that include the 8 amino acids that the human body can't produce on its own, these are leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine.
However, finding plant-based sources of protein isn't difficult, especially with more protein-rich vegan snacks and drinks being introduced every day; if you can't always include a high protein component to your meal, you can always supplement.
There's a long list of naturally occurring sources of calcium for vegans, as well as fortified alternatives; many of which are rich in other nutrients, minerals and easy to create a tasty meal out of:
Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.