As part of our Natural Nutrition Month series, let’s look at the nutrient calcium and then specifically foods high in calcium. Other than water, calcium is the most abundant element in your body and yet it can be hard to get enough from our food.
Your body cannot produce minerals like calcium, and so you must get calcium regularly through your food, water and food supplements.
Why do you need calcium in your diet? Calcium helps us build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It helps you retain normal blood pressure and is integral in how your muscles contract and nerve transmission in your body.
In addition to calcium in your bones, it is also found in your extra-cellular fluids and in your soft tissues where it helps cells function properly. Calcium is so important for your cells to function that if there is not enough in them, your body will pull calcium from your bones. This is what can eventually lead to osteoporosis.
Women benefit from calcium since it helps reduce PMS symptoms like bloating, cramps, water retention, irritability and moodiness.
- 44 million Americans are at risk for osteoporosis
- 50% of women over the age of 50 are at risk
- 78% of women over age 20 get less than their 100% of the RDA for calcium
Foods Rich in Calcium
- Green vegetables
- Milk and dairy products
- Sea vegetables like kelp products
WebMD shows: Top Foods Rich In Calcium
Calcium Alone Is Not Enough
The U.S. has one of the highest rates of dairy consumption and calcium intake, yet has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis. This is a good example that something is lacking. Let’s break it down and consider an analogy.
Think of calcium as the bricks to building strong and healthy bones. Bricks can only be strong and stable when combined with mortar. In the case of calcium, the mortar consists of vitamin D, magnesium, boron, vitamin K, zinc, copper, and manganese.
With these nutrients, calcium has the support it needs to build bone density when you’re young and minimize bone loss as you age. And regular exercise, along with a healthy diet that includes supplemental calcium, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in the elderly.
More is not always better – it’s the formulation that counts. Adequate calcium intake is important, but daily intake above 2,000 mg is not likely to provide any additional benefits.
Do you have antacids with your at all times? You are not alone!
Here’s something to consider if you take antacids like so many people do today due to digestive problems. The ingredients in antacids can decrease the absorption of calcium in your body because they alter the pH of your small intestine.
This is why many over-the-counter antacids will contain calcium. If you thought it was for some kind of nutrition benefit, it’s not so much the reason. If you do use antacids, make sure you are taking extra calcium.
“I never belittle the medical profession, but we are two separate fields of endeavor. They are trained to treat disease. I’m interested in building health.” ~Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee