How to Build Strong Teeth and Bones Without Dairy

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/

Veganism is a trend that’s becoming more and more popular by the day. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Tobey Maguire, Peter Max, and Alice Walker are all vegans. That means they don’t eat meat, dairy products or eggs at all. Although there will always be a debate over whether eating meat is healthy or not, there’s no doubt a vegan lifestyle can be very healthy if you’re careful to get enough of the proper nutrients.

One common complaint about vegans is that they don’t get enough calcium because they don’t consume dairy products. But that just isn’t so. Dark green vegetables have more calcium than a glass of milk or a bowl of yoghurt. Our ancestors did not rely on milk for calcium, and vegans are the same way. With a well balanced diet serving all their nutritional needs, vegans tend to eat an abundance of calcium and are actually building strong teeth and bones.

Dentists constantly deal with the cracking of enamel and tooth decay. Doctors alike deal with jawbone fracture and bone damage. Calcium rich meals are a simple solution to multiple potential long term health risks. A vegan diet is filled with Calcium and Vitamin D. Many people don’t realize that these two nutrients actually go hand in hand. Vitamin D is particularly important because not only does it keep us happy, but also is essential for proper calcium absorption throughout the body. Calcium is found in many traditional vegan foods that build strong teeth and bones.

High calcium foods include:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds/Almond Butter (a healthy alternative to peanut butter!)
  • Tahini
  • Collard greens
  • Calcium fortified soy milk
  • Figs
  • Currants
  • Spinach
  • Whole wheat bread

Here’s a helpful tip!

When you’re shopping for produce at your local grocery store, (although farmers markets are recommended when accessible), always remember that when you’re choosing which leafy vegetables to purchase–the darker the better.

Why is calcium important to both teeth and bones?

Calcium is the root of all things structural in your body. Proteins help grow tissue, but calcium is what keeps bones growing along side the tissue. Without it, they would be much more prone to breakage early on in childhood and later in adulthood. Realize that your bones are alive and just as important as any other part of your body. The bone marrow must remain healthy to prevent other health risks. The average adult should have approximately 1,000 mg of calcium every day. That’s 7,000 mg a week! This may seem like a lot, but with balanced meals and even supplements, this amount is attainable.

There are so many advantages to a vegan diet. However, you don’t need to be a vegan to benefit from a healthy food selection. Whether you are vegan, want to try it out, or simply looking for a lifestyle change, this is definitely an all natural tactic to strengthen your body.

Pamela Fortin is a freelance writer who loves vegan foods (although she also enjoys a good steak now and then.) She writes for a variety of clients including doctors, dog groomers and a cosmetic dentist in Lexington, KY.

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