Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, making up about 1-2% of an adult human’s body weight. While many associate it with bone and tooth health, it is also important for muscle and nerve function, skin health, and managing the acid/alkaline base in our blood stream. Calcium rich foods go far beyond the role of
It goes beyond the dairy aisle! There is more to calcium than glugging back milk and slathering cheese on a sandwich. In fact, there are so many incredible foods that are packed with calcium that is more readily available to the human body that you might be surprised. We have been told for many years that dairy is the ultimate source of calcium to build strong bones in our body, yet there is mounting evidence to show that plant based foods (fruits, vegetables and seeds) have a more positive impact on the overall health on the human body, including stronger bones.
Which is a Better Source of Calcium – Animal Products or Plant Based Food?
“We do know that high protein intakes result in calcium loss through the urine. High-protein diets – especially protein of animal foods – can cause the body to excrete more calcium than it gets…..Because our bodies need calcium to regulate many different functions, such as the functioning of our muscles and nerves, the deficit caused by too much protein causes the body to withdraw more calcium from our main calcium reserve “banks” – our bones, which become increasingly more fragile as calcium is removed from them.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD
“A high intake of milk might, however, have undesirable effects, because milk is the main dietary source of D-galactose… Even a low dose of D-galactose induces changes that resemble natural aging in animals, including shortened life span caused by oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes.” – Study: Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men.
“Reducing the amount of meat in the diet may do more to reduce the risk of osteoporosis than increasing calcium intake….That’s because animal protein, including that from dairy products, may leach more calcium from the bones than is ingested.” – Susan S. Lang: Eating less meat may help reduce osteoporosis risk
“A large observational cohort study in Sweden found that women consuming more than 3 glasses of milk a day had almost twice the mortality over 20 years compared to those women consuming less than one glass a day. In addition, the high milk-drinkers did not have improved bone health. In fact, they had more fractures, particularly hip fractures.” – Thomas Campbell, MD
So what else can we eat other than dairy? Plants!
Fruits and vegetables are abundant in nutrients that help the human body to thrive. They give the body energy, build immunity, create an internal healthy environment, create healthy hair, strong nails, strong muscles, strong bones, balance hormones and generally make us feel good from the inside out. Our body absorbs the plant nutrients efficiently as they are easy to digest and have a more alkaline base which the human body favours.
Calcium is easily found in a variety of plant foods, just be sure to eat plenty of them on a regular basis to reap the benefits.
7 Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium
- Spinach – This popular leafy green is packed with calcium, folate, iron, vitamins A and K, amongst many other nutrients. It is an easy veggie to add to your daily diet. Enjoy it raw in salads, add a couple of handfuls to a smoothie with sweet fruit, and lightly steam with garlic to serve with dinner.
- Kale – The powerhouse kale is loaded with calcium, iron, manganese, vitamins A, C and K, plus more! Massage raw kale to soften the leaves and add to a salad, lightly steam with a mix of green veggies, or add to a smoothie.
- Bok Choy – Another green loaded with calcium, iron, folate, vitamins A, C and K, and more! Stir-fry with garlic and chili for a simple side dish or enjoy raw sliced into salads.
- Brussels Sprouts – The green veggie that should be enjoyed every day it is in season! Packed with calcium, iron, folate, manganese and vitamins C and K, it yields an impressive dose of nutrients for a mini cabbage. Enjoy raw sliced finely in a coleslaw, lightly steam, or roast with garlic and balsamic vinegar.
- Sesame Seeds/Tahini – Rich in beneficial minerals, sesame seeds have a super dose of nutrients such as copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium and iron. Add the seeds to salads or sprinkle on cooked vegetables, make a simple dressing with tahini and lime juice, or add to spinach for a super dose of calcium.
- Oranges – This sweet juicy fruit is abundant in vitamin C whilst having a great dose of calcium, fibre, folate and more. Enjoy them as they are, make freshly squeezed orange juice or add segments to a big fresh salad with spinach or kale.
- Blackstrap Molasses – A super natural rich sweetener! Blackstrap molasses is highly nutritious and is created as a byproduct of refining raw cane sugar into fine table sugar. It is packed with calcium, iron, magnesium and other vitamins. Enjoy added to smoothies, drizzled on fruit or homemade pancakes, or added to oats.
Enjoy nature’s bounty. Which food will you try this week?