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6. Calcium

As you may have heard, calcium is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones. We tend to associate calcium with dairy products, however there are other sources that are worth trying of you’re a vegan. Just keep in mind that plant-based sources of calcium “are not absorbed as well in the body, which can eventually lead to a deficiency,” says Palinski-Wade. Also, after a couple of years, low level of calcium can increase your risk for weak bones and osteoporosis.

In addition to dairy, Hostler says that natural sources include collard greens, turnip greens, kale, broccoli, and bok choy, as well as soybeans, chickpeas, black beans, and almonds. You may try calcium-fortified plant-based milk, cereals, or juices too.

But, Palinski-Wade says, “a calcium supplement daily is a good idea for all vegetarians and vegans, and especially for women and children.” The recommended adult intake is 1,000 mg a day, or 1,200 if you’re a woman over 50. “In addition, incorporating daily exercise using your own body weight can be a helpful way to increase bone strength,” she says.

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