Calcium and Iron
Hey everyone, I'm on day 25 of my all raw diet! This is the third time I've tried it, but I've decided to make it permanent this time. My only concern is calcium and iron. I make around 3 green smoothies a day with 4 bananas, 4-6 cups of baby spinach and 3 cups of assorted berries. Other than that the only vegetables I eat often are with salads, which isn't too often anyways. I eat a fair amount of sunflower seeds and cashews. I eat avocados, bell peppers, onions, carrots, zucchini. I'm just a little nervous about my iron and calcium. Everything else I feel like is in good shape. I'm a small person so eating more than I am would be very hard. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!
Turnip greens have an insane amount of calcium. I juice mine, but you can eat them in a salad, too, or stick them into a green smoothie.
Whole(unhulled) sesame seeds are a tasty way to get a load of calcium, also.
I don't worry too much about iron, but sometimes I juice a red beet. Some of the dark, leafy greens have a nice amount of iron, like kale.
WOW! I didn't realize how much calcium was in sesame seeds. Thanks for that. I'll try and find a way to incorporate those into my diet definitely.
Spinach has something in it that can interfere with absorption of calcium, so you may want to try replacing it with other greens if you're concerned about getting enough calcium. A cup of almonds has about one-third of the daily calcium recommendation, so making almond milk can also be a good way of getting calcium. Flax & coconut have good amounts of iron - try making bitt's Coconut Flax Cakes from this site, if you have a dehydrator.
I looked up nutrition info. for turnips, and one large turnip only has 5% of the daily intake of calcium. I don't think I could eat (or drink) enough turnips to get very much calcium. :P
Check out turnip greens instead of the turnip root...
The turnip root has 5% of RDA of calcium for 1c (156g).
The greens have 21% of the RDA for calcium for the same amount.
The greens also have 281% of vitamin A (root = 0%)
The greens have more fiber and twice as much iron (16% vs 8%).
I have heard that about the spinach, but all of the sources just recommend eating something along with it that's high in vitamin C which helps absorption. I am getting a ton of vitamin c in each smoothie, so I figured it would be fine. But I'm not sure, does that seem alright?
Angie, I said turnip GREENS, not the root. Also, the almond milk might not have the same amount of calcium that the whole almond would. I could be wrong, but I though whole, unhulled sesame seed had more calcium than almond.
TomsMom - Oh, sorry, I was tired when I read it last night, I guess. :P Sesame seeds do have more calcium per cup than almonds, but I just can't stand the bitter taste of sesame seeds enough to eat very much of them. I'm looking here for ideas to get more calcium, too. Thanks for the info. on turnip greens! :)
Logankost - I don't know the answer about spinach & vitamin C. I just haven't felt good eating spinach for a long time, and I've been a little low on calcium, so when I heard that about spinach I figured maybe that's why the spinach hasn't felt good to me. I get lots of vitamin C, though. You may be fine, & my experience may be for another reason. It was just an idea.
You could try switching up your greens in your smoothies, so you get a variety of nutrients, you can also try a variety of things based on what's in season. I love a little parsley in my smoothies sometimes. Other times I enjoy a fruit smoothie straight up, no greens.
I'd also say that eating something that is otherwise, strong, bitter or inedible unless it's hidden in a smoothie or covered with a ton of oil & spices in a salad, for instance, is probably not necessary or meant to be eaten. I truly believe that the bounty we were given was meant to be enjoyed "as is" and not choked down or masked with other flavors to be made palatable.
It does sound like you are eating a very balanced diet though. Don't underestimate the nutritional balance and power of our superfoods, fruits and veggies, you are getting everything you need in perfect amounts.
as you go further into being raw you will notice that you will have strong cravings for certain raw foods. Like one day you might eat a few bags of spinach, or a crate of cucumbers...you will notice that your body will guide you to exactly what it needs. Eating intuitively is the easy way to a balanced diet. It just takes a couple or three months of being raw for you to get past the cooked food addictions and cravings and discover your body's true voice.
thanx for that insight, zoe. i'm about a month in. i was SHOCKED yesterday when my husband, baby, and i were shopping. i was sitting SMACK DAB in front of a mrs. fields chocolate chip cookie cafe. i had absolutely NO CRAVING for it. i can't imagine in a few months what it will be like.
it was really -- THE FIRST TIME i've been around desserts without any synaptic connection in my brain telling me "EAT EAT EAT".
this raw living is really exciting.
i feel like i'm changing so much (for the better).
Just for the record, to best absorb calcium and iron, unless they're found naturally together in the same food, they need to be taken apart from one another.
Have you ever tried chia seeds? They are high in calcium and it's easy to add some of the chia gel to smoothies, no strong taste to worry about either.
Funny; I just made some crackers with chia seeds in them - they're in the dehydrator now - I just wish they weren't so expensive! Also, 1 cup of chopped kale has 9% RDI of calcium & 6% RDI of iron.
There are various studies out about calcium that contradict what the Milk Industry is trying to push on you. (Imagine that!!!)
I was actually researching this a couple of days ago, I don't have any links at the moment. I didn't book mark them but I should have.
To sum it up, the highest incidence of osteoporosis was in the countries like the USA that ate and drank the most dairy products and that ate the most meat.
The FDA says 1000mg of calcium but it seems that even half that amount may be sufficient enough. Other countries average 300mg and have lower incidence of osteoporosis. Vegans didn't have a higher incidence of osteoporosis in another study. Gorillas eat a plant based diet, and they have strong bones and are something like 4 times stronger than the average human.
The largest animals on the planet eat plant based diets, where do they get their calcium??? You think they pop supplements and drink milk?? Or eat large amounts of sesame seeds??
Bones are NOT just made up of calcium, other nutrients are important as well.
Calcium IS absorbed by the body very efficiently, since in blood tests the amount in the blood is very very low.
Today I made almond milk and had my cereal with that.
Take that milk companies.
So once again moderation is the key!!!
Raw Canadian- Thanks for that. I do think I'm getting enough calcium to be honest, I was just making sure I wasn't making a dangerous assumption. I feel that my diet is doing well, but I'm going to start and try to put on some more pounds!
Here is one link. Interesting that non-dairy studies suggest high milk intake weakens the bones. Other animals have strong bones , and don't drink milk.
Also keep in mind that America is fat and most do not exercise. That could result in higher hip fractures alone.
Just my two cents.
Here is one link of many:
According to the USDA Natural Nutrient Database, the amount of calcium in 100 grams of whole cow's milk is 133, the amount of calcium in 100 grams of almonds is 264, and the amount of calcium in 100 grams of sesame seeds is 975. I assume they are talking about milligrams but I didn't see any measurements.
A good way to consume larger amounts of sesame seeds and absorb its nutrition is by making sesame mylk. Simply blend up raw sesame seeds with water in a blender and drink. You can strain out any particulate matter that might not get blended with a weaker blender, but its not necessary. Here's a sesame mylk recipe that I've come up with myself that I think everyone would enjoy:
--Arrowhead Mills unhulled organic sesame seeds (as much as you like - soak for 6 hours then rinse)
--Water (to achieve preferred thickness)
--raw cacao nibs (as much as you like - I prefer to soak my cacao nibs for at least 10 hours to eliminate the bitter, tannin-like flavors)
--about 1/4 of the seeds ("caviar") of a vanilla bean (slice bean the long way and scrape out caviar with the back of a thin-tipped knife)
--2 teaspoons ground Maca
--1 frozen banana (to freeze: peel, break in half or quarters, wrap in foil)
*Blend up ingredients minus banana until blended through. Add frozen banana and blend until just barely blended through. Enjoy!
It is iron that is best consumed with vitamin C to maximize absorption, not calcium with vitamin C.
I think the dark leafy greens have a lot of iron and I believe calcium too :)