Am I Getting Enough Calcium?
Posted on 15 December 2013 by Leonie Satori
Interestingly, the media has promoted both the consumption of dairy products and calcium supplements for the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with calcium deficiency however, consuming the right kinds of calcium foods and supplements is not this simple.While dairy products contain ample amounts of calcium, the form of calcium in these foods is not easily absorbed or assimilated in the human body; this is the reason why the list of calcium rich foods below does not contain any dairy products.
In foods, calcium occurs naturally in combination with magnesium and, calcium and magnesium also work closely together in the human body. Calcium rich foods include all nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables, so a simple plant based diet is perfect for obtaining these nutrients.
As well as including calcium rich foods in your diet, it is equally as important to ensure that you are not consuming any foods or medications that would deplete your body of calcium. Unfortunately, this is where most people lose the fight with calcium, even with a diet high in calcium rich foods calcium absorption can be diminished by certain drugs and foods.
Fortunately, the foods that deplete calcium from the body can be easily avoided by following a whole foods plant based diet. A diet that includes coffee, alcohol, red meat, carbonated drinks, sugar and white flour products with have some level of calcium depletion occurring. These ‘foods’ listed above and highlighted should be removed from the diet immediately if calcium, teeth or bone issues are present in the body.
In situations where there has been significant bone loss or use of calcium depleting medications, it is often necessary to use a calcium supplement. In this situation it is best to consult your naturopath for specific type of calcium supplement that is suitable for you, as the wrong kind of calcium can do more harm than good. As a general rule of thumb, when purchasing a calcium supplement, “you get what you pay for”, so the cheapest option is not always the best. Also, avoiding calcium in a ‘carbonate’ form is essential as this is the most difficult form to absorb. Calcium in ‘citrate’, ‘orotate’ or ‘phosphate’ forms are more readily absorbed in the body, plus the inclusion of co-factors such as boron, silicon and zinc can also help with calcium absorption.
CALCIUM FOODS Chlorella, nuts, beans, root vegetables, sunflower seeds, spirulina, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, dried figs, sesame seeds, tahini, sprouts, molasses, sardines, salmon (with soft bones), almonds, asparagus, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, oats, kale, parsley, cabbage, carob pods and blackstrap molasses.
In summary, eating a whole foods plant based diet rich in green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds and avoiding sugar, coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, red meat and white flour products will put your body on the right track for calcium balance.
About the Author
Leonie is a Naturopath & Medical Herbalist with a passion for good food, healthy living and of course, herbal medicine. When she is not consulting in her wellness clinic in Lismore or blogging about nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine or natural health, she is studying yoga, growing her own herbs and vegetables or quietly walking in the natural bush land in Northern Rivers NSW.
Contact our health centre in Lismore to book an appointment with Leonie in our naturopathic clinic.