When folks find out you don’t eat dairy, after they tell you they’d die without cheese they often will ask how you get enough calcium in your diet without milk products. The dairy industry has done a great job marketing milk as the best way to build healthy bones, but you can actually get calcium from all sorts of plant-based sources, and they’re often better for your bones than dairy products!
One cup of collard greens contains more than 350 mg of calcium. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
We need between 1000 and 1200 milligrams of calcium per day for healthy bones, and it’s not just vegans who need to plan carefully to get enough calcium each day. Over 75 percent of Americans are deficient in calcium, so plenty of omnivores aren’t getting enough, either. No matter what your diet, you just need to make sure to include two or three servings of calcium-rich foods and/or calcium-fortified foods in each meal, and you’ll be able to hit that target for bone health.
Unlike milk, plant-based calcium sources contain vitamins C and K and the minerals potassium and magnesium, which are all important for bone health. Next time someone asks you where you get your calcium, you can tell them it comes from some of the 25 vegan sources below.
25 Vegan Sources for Calcium
1. Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)
2. Collard greens (1 cup contains more than 350 mg)
3. Blackstrap molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
4. Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)
5. Turnip greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)
6. Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200-300 mg)
7. Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)
8. Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)
9. Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)
10. Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)
11. Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)
12. Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)
13. Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)
14. Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)
15. Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)
16. Black currants (1 cup contains 62 mg)
17. Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)
18. Dried apricots (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
19. Figs (1/2 cup contains 120 mg)
20. Dates (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
21. Artichoke (1 medium artichoke contains 55 mg)
22. Roasted sesame seeds (1 oz contains 35 mg)
23. Adzuki beans (1 cup contains 65 mg)
24. Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)
25. Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
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The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.