Calcium is abundantly present in our bodies and is stored in our bones and teeth where it is distributed through the bloodstream for use by the heart and other organs. It is required for good bone health, efficient nerve and muscle function and cardiovascular health. Including this vital nutrient in your diet helps to replenish those stores to the bones where it can be used as your body needs it.
What you need to know about Calcium:
- You need an adequate intake of Vitamin D to promote absorption of calcium.
- Foods high in sodium, cause excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys.
- Excessive sugar in your diet inhibits calcium absorption and depletes phosphorus as well, which is another important mineral in facilitating calcium absorption.
- Phosphoric acid, found in regular and diet soda is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density.
- Caffeine leaches calcium from our bones, and Alcohol is also associated with low bone mass.
- Some legumes, such as Navy beans and peas are high in phytates that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, though they contain many beneficial nutrients so, moderation is your keyword when it comes to legumes.
Calcium is a mineral found in the soil, where it is absorbed into the roots of plants and eaten by cows. So even though we are all conditioned to believe that calcium comes from milk and dairy products, the real source of calcium is the soil. If the cow that you get the milk from is grain fed, as most industrial farmed animals are, then where does the calcium in milk come from? Additionally, our bodies only absorb about 30% of the calcium intake from dairy products, given that, maybe dairy isn’t the best source of calcium. Non-Dairy Foods High in Calcium:
- Almonds 1/2 cup raw = 187mg
- Collard Greens 1 cup cooked = 178mg
- Broccoli 1 cup chopped cooked = 74mg
- Bok Choy 1 cup shredded = 74mg
- Napa Cabbage 1 cup shredded = 59mg
For more info on calcium and plant based diets, check out this link.