Part II: Do Plant-Based Diets Need Supplementing?
Fear of weak bones is what drives concerns about calcium intake. But calcium alone doesn't build strong bones. Exercise, Vitamin D, and a variety of vitamins and minerals from whole plant foods all strengthen our skeletal system. As the muscles work during exercise, they pull on the bones, signaling our bodies to build up bone tissue. Vitamin D, which we get from sunlight exposure or supplements, helps our bodies absorb calcium from our food. And as Dr. Fuhrman noted, whole plant foods supply all the necessary building blocks of healthy bones and bodies. Calcium, like all nutrients, benefits us most when it is bundled with other vitamins and minerals--the way it comes in plants.
Of course, there are things we can do which decrease our stores of calcium. Smoking, caffeine, high salt intake, drinking soda, alcohol, and animal-based diets which are naturally high in protein all leach calcium from our bones. As long as we stay away from these calcium-draining habits and instead eat a variety of whole plant foods, we will get plenty of calcium plus all the other necessary vitamins and minerals that build strong bones and bodies.
Continue reading this blog series to find out if we need to supplement iron, omega-3 fatty acids, or Vitamin B-12.
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