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Vegetarian or Vegan: Watch Your Bone Health, Says Affinity Health

Vegetarian or Vegan: Watch Your Bone Health, Says Affinity Health

A plant-based diet improves your health, saves the lives of thousands of animals, and helps heal the planet. A bonus – there’s no such thing as Mad Carrot disease! But before you gobble down your veggies, Affinity Health – providers of premier, quality, affordable medical insurance – has these tips to ensure your bones stay healthy and strong.

There is a new wave of greenies taking over the world. Long gone are the days when vegans and vegetarians got the shorter end of the celery stick. Today there is a world of options for lovers of plant-based diets. Meat-free restaurants are mushrooming globally, and retail companies are developing new high protein brands across food aisles. A growing number of people are becoming more conscious and concerned about the environmental impact of eating meat and the many health benefits of not.

Some are reluctant to try a vegetarian diet because they believe their bodies won’t be getting enough nutrients.

While some studies have found that vegetarians and vegans had lower bone mineral density (BMD) than those who ate meat, other studies have also found that a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of developing certain illnesses and diseases such as cancers, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. 

“Osteoporosis is a common chronic condition associated with progressive loss of BMD and bone strength, increasing your risk of suffering bone fractures and breaks,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Plant-based diets have been shown to contain lower amounts of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, protein, and fatty acids, all of which have important roles in maintaining bone health. The good news is that with a little planning and careful selection of foods or fortified foods or the use of supplements, you can ensure your daily calcium requirements are met.”

Vegetarians who still consume milk and milk products can get most of their calcium from dairy foods (milk, cheese, and yoghurt), but vegans can get it from other foods.

Good sources of calcium for vegans include:

  • Dark leafy green vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and kale)
  • Fortified soya, rice, and oat drinks
  • Calcium-set tofu
  • Chia seeds
  • Oranges
  • Almonds
  • Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, figs, apricots)
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Pulses and legumes
  • Calcium-fortified brown bread

“Looking after your bone health should be top of mind for every one of us – no matter our food preferences. We all need to be aware of the recommended daily allowance of calcium and do all we can to keep our bones healthy and strong. If you are concerned about your diet, please talk to your doctor about seeing a dietitian,” concludes Hewlett.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.