Vegan Buddhist nuns have same bone density as non-vegetarians

I found this study to be very interested as I have this question asked all the time, "Where do you get your calcium?" Calcium is available from many food sources such as almonds, calcium-fortified soy milk and juice, calcium-set tofu, soybeans and soynuts, bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and okra. Many people are not aware that there is in fact more calcium in 4 ounces of firm tofu or 3/4 cup of collard greens as there is in one cup of cow's milk!

The study was led by Professor Tuan Nguyen from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research. He collaborated with Dr Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their findings are now published online in Osteoporosis International.

"For the 5% of people in Western countries who choose to be vegetarians, this is very good news," said Professor Nguyen. "Even vegans, who eat only plant-based foods, appear to have bones as healthy as everyone else."

"Bone health in vegetarians, particularly vegans, has been a concern for some time, because as a group they tend to have a lower protein and calcium intake than the population at large."

"In this work we showed that although the vegans studied do indeed have lower protein and calcium intakes, their bone density is virtually identical to that of people who eat a wide variety of foods, including animal protein."



Beck said...

That's REALLY interesting! We try and limit our Girl's milk consumption - and at the same time worry because of osteoperosis in our family. More greens for her!

Layla said...

Hmm.. VERY interesting indeed!!

Any idea what exactly the nuns eat?

/I'm against non-natural vitamins & minerals if possible... some (apparently) 'fortified' tofu here in Slovenia tasted like chalk, yuk!/

I have some mild osteopenia too, so this is a concern.. am not a vegetarian anymore (at the time), but still interested in all this.. :)

Nadia said...

Beck: Yes greens are fantastic ways of including calcium in their diet!

Layla: Tofu shouldn't taste like chalk. Yuk indeed!

We do eat some soy products however our main diet includes beans, whole grains, breads, pastas, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and lots of leafy greens.

I will be posting a chart shortly, showing the calcium content in various foods.

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