Vitamin D (a hormone) and calcium (a mineral) are nutrients that promote healthy bones and are essential for muscle mobility, nerve communication, absorption of phosphorous and other vitamins, immune system responses, hormonal secretion and blood vessel flow. Without adequate vitamin D or calcium, our parathyroid glands produce excessive amounts of their hormone, resulting in weakened bones and an increased risk of fracture.
Muscle cramps and spasms, numbness and tingling, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, dry skin, hair loss, confusion and memory loss are also the signs and symptoms of calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Our addiction to gadgets and the “work under the roof” routine has reduced our exposure to sunlight and working in weird postures has led to recurring backaches and joint pain due to lack of vitamin D and calcium.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Malini Saba, a culinarian, psychologist and psychologist, Founder and Chairman of Anannke Foundation, shared three vegetarian recipes that will boost your vitamin D and calcium levels in a simple and healthy manner:
1. Simple fat-free spinach soup –
Spinach soup is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, dietary fibre, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all of which are beneficial for bone health.
In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add 1 tablespoon of garlic and 1/2 cup of onion, and sauté until translucent. Add 3 cups of shredded spinach and sauté for 2 minutes. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, stirring constantly. After cooling, blend in a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup of low-fat milk, salt, and pepper to taste, heat for 2 minutes, and serve hot with a grating of nutmeg. This light lunch or starter serves four.
2. Fig spread –
Figs, or anjeer, are considered one of the best sources of calcium and vitamin D known to man.
In a small pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Fry one sliced onion and two to three garlic cloves until golden brown. Set aside. Blend together 500 grammes of chopped figs, 1 tablespoon of sugar, four green chilies, four tbsp of malt vinegar, four tbsp of white vinegar, along with the fried onions and garlic, to create a smooth, thick paste. Keep it chilled for at least 30 minutes prior to serving and keep it in an airtight, non-metallic container for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
3. Badami chandni kabab –
This vegetarian starter is a party favourite. Almonds and paneer make these kebabs rich in vitamin D and calcium.
Grind 1/4 cup peeled almonds and 1/4 cup paneer. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 slice of bread and mash. In a sauce pan, melt 1 teaspoon of ghee, then add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped green chilies and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped onions, along with salt to taste, and cook until translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of cream along with 1 teaspoon each of chopped coriander and mint leaves. Divide the mixture and form them into kababs, coating uniformly with bread crumbs. The kabab can be cooked over a medium heat until golden brown. Serve this dish hot, with onion rings and green chutney,
Adding to the list, Dr Pratayksha Bhardwaj, MBBS, MD, Weight Loss Expert and Director of Shree Skin Care and Slimming Centre, revealed 3 recipes that are a rich treasure of calcium and vitamin D:
1. Mushroom brown rice bowl –
This mushroom brown rice bowl is delicious and filling, as well as high in vitamin D and calcium.
In a cooking pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat; sauté 450 g of Portabella mushrooms until lightly browned, then add 2 thinly sliced green onions and cook for 1 minute. Mix in 250 g cooked brown rice and 1 large shredded carrot. Cook and stir until the veggies are soft.
2. Cinnamon roll steel cut oatmeal –
This oatmeal is incredible! It tastes identical to a deconstructed sweet, gooey cinnamon bun in a bowl of delicious oatmeal.
In a blender, combine 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 4 pitted dates, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Cook 1 cup of steel-cut oats, the blended mixture, and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter for 10 minutes, or until two whistles sound. Stir the oats and, if desired, add extra milk. As it sits, the oats will continue to thicken. Serve with the desired toppings.
3. Yogurt Parfait –
This yoghurt parfait is a terrific afternoon snack that requires only one bowl and less than five minutes to prepare! It stabilises blood sugar levels, is rich in vitamin D and calcium, and can be prepared in five minutes.
Combine in a mixing bowl.5 heaping tablespoons of plain yoghurt, 1/2 tablespoon of coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of carob powder, 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and liquid stevia to taste. Clove powder and nutmeg powder are optional. Top it with your preferred topping, such as apple sauce, frozen fruits, chopped almonds, etc.