Tag Archives: plant foods

Calcium and Mineral Mythology

Bok ChoyOne of the many myths we hear about when it comes to minerals is that you need to consume dairy products to get enough calcium. While milk, cheese and yogurt do have calcium, there are plenty of other choices and some distinct advantages for those who want to skip the dairy and get their calcium for plant foods. Plant foods, such as collards and kale, are often good sources of calcium, but don’t carry the price tag of saturated fat and cholesterol, or a grumbly tummy for those with lactose intolerance. Plant foods are also easier on the animals and the environment.

Some people may take time to get used to the idea after seeing all the commercials with celebrities wearing a milk moustache, but as you learn more about it, we think you’ll be reaching for the veggies as the best way to get your calcium. The chart below shows some of the many plant sources of calcium, with dairy milk included for comparison. See our fact sheet to learn more about how to get plenty of calcium in your diet.

Food Calcium mg per 100 cal serving Absorption rate
Bok Choy 870mg 53%
Collard Greens 609mg 52%
Orange Juice (calcium fortified) 320mg 52%
Tofu, set with calcium 287mg 31%
Kale 270mg 49%
Broccoli 215mg 61%
Cow’s milk (for comparison) 188mg 32%
Sesame seeds 170mg 21%
Cabbage 160mg 65%
White beans 72mg 22%
Tempeh 55mg 37%

Save Water – Go Vegetarian!

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry” – English Proverb

DroughtSevere droughts have recently made water scarce in several regions of the country. Parts of California, the Southwest, and the Great Plains have suffered from three consecutive years of drought, according to Brad Rippey, meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). More than two-thirds of California is currently covered by extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Of course, drought directly impacts crops. Agriculture uses about 80% of California’s water and because of shortages, a lot of fields may have to lay fallow this year. It’s not just California that’s experiencing a drought. Kansas, the biggest U.S. wheat producer, and elsewhere in the Great Plains are also experiencing a severe drought.

What can we do about it? After all we can’t change the weather. True, but we can change what we eat and it turns out that may be more effective than anything else. Eating vegetarian foods saves a huge amount of water because producing meat is so water-intensive compared to plant foods. Read more

Breast Cancer Update

Basket of fruit and vegetablesHere’s a bit of news on a large and complicated topic.  Eat your veggies to help prevent breast cancer!

Phytonutrients are powerful when it comes to preventing a variety of diseases, including cancer. Phytonutrients are substances found only in plant foods.  They are neither vitamins nor minerals, but are nevertheless vital for good health. A recent study found that those women with the highest intakes of phytonutrients called carotenoids had a reduced risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer by as much as a third, and a reduced risk of estrogen-negative breast cancer by almost half.

In another study, post-menopausal women with breast cancer who doubled their intake of plant foods, reduced their risk of recurrence of the cancer after treatment by almost 50%. Carotenoids are found abundantly in red, yellow and deeply colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale.

Not surprisingly, those following a vegan diet have the highest plant food intakes of all. A recent study found that women following a vegan diet had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer, as well as a significantly reduced risk of other female cancers, such ovarian cancer.

Breast cancer is a complicated disease involving other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and several others. However, diet is also a major factor.  Scientific research has shown again and again that you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding this disease by consuming generous amounts of health-promoting plant foods.