Soybeans and most soy products are excellent dietary sources of calcium. Cooked soybeans contain 102 mg of calcium per 100g, while a glass of soy milk provides up to 39% of the recommended daily intake.
Health benefits of calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body! It’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency may lead to osteoporosis.
In addition, calcium is involved in muscle movement and flexibility, blood vessel contraction and dilation, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
How much calcium do we need per day?
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults.
Only women older than 50 years should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium a day, due to increased risk of osteoporosis. Calcium absorption declines with age.
Moreover, children older than 13 years and teenagers require at least 1,300 mg of calcium a day, due to rapid bone growth.
Are soybeans rich in calcium?
Actually, all beans are great dietary sources of calcium. Soybeans are the richest beans in calcium, though.
Cooked soybeans contain 102 mg of calcium per 100g. A serving contains 175 mg of calcium. This dose is about 18% of the recommended daily intake.
Is soy milk a good dietary source of calcium?
Soy milk is also a great dietary source of calcium. It contains 155 mg per of calcium per 100g. A glass of soy milk contains up to 388 mg of calcium, which is almost 39% of the Daily Value (DV).
Soy milk has such high amounts of calcium because it’s fortified with the mineral. Soy milk is a great dietary source of iron as well.
Actually, according to a study, drinking at least 375 mL of calcium-fortified soy milk a day could improve bone mineral density. Also, it could help calcium-deficient adolescents increase their bone mass.
You can find a wide variety of organic soy milks on Amazon.
Are other soy products high in calcium?
Almost all soy products can help us meet our daily needs of calcium. A serving of tofu provides about 32% DV, edamame 10% DV, and tempeh 8% DV.
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Do we absorb calcium of soy milk or other soy products?
Although, soybeans are excellent dietary sources of calcium, we absorb only a small percentage of their calcium content.
They contain substances such as oxalic acid, polyphenols, and phytic acid, which inhibit calcium absorption. These compounds bind to calcium, forming indigestible salts. So, we absorb about 5% of the calcium of soybeans.[5,6]
Other foods high in compounds that inhibit calcium absorption are spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and rhubarb. Avoid consuming them with foods high in calcium.
On the other hand, we absorb much more calcium from cow’s milk, dairy or fortified foods. Calcium absorption of these foods is about 30%.
Certainly, if you follow a well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t worry about calcium consumption. The interaction of oxalic or phytic acid with calcium doesn’t significantly affect total calcium intake. The best way to boost calcium intake is to eat plenty of foods high in calcium.
Too much caffeine can reduce calcium absorption as well.
In contrast, vitamin D can increase the absorption rates of calcium. But, as vitamin D isn’t naturally present in many foods, many people would benefit from taking vitamin D supplements. You’ll find a wide variety of vitamin D supplements on iHerb.
Soy or cow’s milk for calcium?
Certainly, cow’s milk and dairy are excellent dietary sources of calcium. Cow’s milk contains 123 mg of calcium per 100 mL, or 306 mg of calcium per serving. A glass of cow’s milk provides about 30% DV.
Therefore, cow’s milk and calcium-enriched soy milk have similar amounts of calcium per serving.
However, calcium in cow’s milk is more bioavailable than calcium in soy milk. It’s estimated that we absorb 25% less calcium from soy milk.
Although cow’s milk and dairy are pretty rich in highly bioavailable calcium, we shouldn’t depend on them to meet our daily needs. We should consume them only in moderation, as cow’s milk and dairy are pretty high in saturated fats. A glass of whole milk contains approximately 4.6 g of saturated fats.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming up to 13 g of saturated fats a day. We shouldn’t consume trans fats at all.
Moreover, soy milk has fewer calories than cow’s milk.
Soy milk could be a great plant-based alternative to cow’s milk in your favorite banana smoothie recipes.
Common foods high in calcium
Besides, cow’s milk and dairy, another animal-derived source of calcium is fish. Especially, small fish like sardines, which are eaten with bones, are rich in calcium.
Moreover, you can boost your daily calcium intake with moringa powder. Moringa powder is among the richest foods in calcium. It contains about 2,700 mg of calcium per 100g, or 70 mg per a 2-tsp serving! It’s a true superfood! You’ll find a wide variety of moringa supplements and powders on iHerb.
Consuming high amounts of calcium from food is safe. But, we shouldn’t get too much from supplements. For instance, high calcium intakes from supplements may inhibit iron absorption up to 55%.
Can I drink soy milk or eat soybeans every day?
Soybeans have a superior nutritional value and are great for weight loss. Not only they’re rich in fiber and high-quality plant-based protein, but also, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds.
Most noteworthy, soybeans are the richest food in isoflavones. Isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds with many health benefits.
For instance, soy isoflavone combined with calcium may have a beneficial effect on bone mineral density.
In addition, isoflavones can help maintain blood vessel health, help support cellular health, and significantly increase the antioxidant status of the body! Soy isoflavones may reduce the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms, and osteoporosis! Also, they may help improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammations in the body.[12,13]
Moreover, if consumed instead of animal protein, soy products may reduce the serum concentrations of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Fermented soy foods may have a beneficial effect on diabetes and blood pressure as well.
Furthermore, soy foods may alleviate hot flashes and improve skin health.
Isoflavones are plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity. They’re classified as phytoestrogens. Due to their high content of these phytoestrogens, many people think that soy foods are bad for our health.
Soy foods aren’t bad for you, though. Many studies support the safety and benefits of soy foods. For instance, according to the European Food Safety Authority, isoflavones in soybeans don’t adversely affect the breast, thyroid or uterus of postmenopausal women.