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How to Make Sure that You're Getting Enough Calcium
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Nov 11, 2009
Getting enough calcium for strong bones and teeth isn't as simple as ingesting a certain number of milligrams of calcium per day. This post outlines why calcium is important to your health, as well as steps that you can take to ensure that you get enough calcium to experience your best health.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in your body. Approximately 99 percent of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth while the remaining 1 percent is found in your blood and remaining tissues.
What Does Calcium Do in Your Body?
Helps to form strong teeth and bones
Allows muscle tissue to lengthen and contract properly
Helps regulate blood pH, which is essential to your body's ability to properly transport oxygen and carbon dioxide
Allows for proper blood coagulation
Allows for proper functioning of your heart and nerves
Due to its importance to a number of critical metabolic activities, the amount of calcium that is available to your blood and tissues must be carefully regulated at all times. Your bones and teeth serve as reservoirs of calcium that your blood taps into for its ongoing need for calcium. Ultimately, the amount of calcium that your blood saps from your bones and teeth is determined by the amount of calcium that your blood receives from your diet. So the health of your bones and teeth is closely linked to the quantity and quality of calcium-rich foods that you eat and how well you digest and assimilate these foods.
Here are some healthy food sources of calcium that are well tolerated by the masses:
|Whole Food Sources||Serving||Calcium (mg)|
|Chinese cabbage, cooked||1/2 cup||239|
|Spinach, cooked||1/2 cup||230|
|Rhubarb, cooked||1/2 cup||174|
|Wild salmon, canned with bones||3 ounces||167|
|Kale, cooked||1 cup||122|
|White beans, cooked||1/2 cup||113|
|Bok choy, cooked||1/2 cup||79|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||70|
|Red beans, cooked||1/2 cup||41|
Additional healthy food sources of calcium include:
Broths made with vegetables and/or organic bones
Organic, unpasteurized dairy from healthfully raised goats, cows, or sheep (if you can ingest dairy without experiencing discomfort anywhere in your body)
Green food powders that contain a variety of organic green vegetables
Eating plenty of healthy, calcium-rich foods does not guarantee healthy bones and teeth. The following factors influence your calcium and overall health status:
Your body needs an adequate amount of vitamin D to properly absorb calcium through your intestinal wall. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in industrialized countries.
Taking synthetic iron and zinc supplements can inhibit calcium absorption.
If you regularly eat whole grains without soaking, fermenting, or sprouting them, the phytic acid found in the bran of whole grains can bind onto calcium and prevent its absorption into your bloodstream. Soaking whole grains overnight before preparing them to eat can neutralize phytic acid and prevent problems with calcium absorption.
Stress is capable of leeching calcium out of your bones.
Eating too many acid-forming foods like flesh meats, dairy products, flour products, salt, sugar, and caffeine can pull calcium out of your bones.
Because there are many variables that can affect how well you absorb calcium into your blood and maintain the strength of your bones and teeth, it's difficult to provide recommended daily allowances for different age groups.
There are, however, a few concrete steps that you can take to help ensure adequate calcium intake and optimal bone and dental infrastructure:
Strive to eat some of the calcium-rich foods listed above on a regular basis. Don't forget to apply principles of how to eat for optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Do some weight-bearing exercise every day. Simply walking outdoors is an excellent choice for most people.
Ensure that you have a healthy amount of vitamin D in your system by getting some exposure to sunlight and eating foods rich in vitamin D.
Choose to eat iron-rich and zinc-rich foods rather than synthetic supplement forms of iron and zinc.
Soak whole grains overnight before preparing them to eat.
Find ways to effectively manage emotional stressors in your life.
Don't eat large amounts of flesh meats, flour products, salt, and caffeine. Sugar is best avoided completely.
For more information on how to promote healthy bones at any age, please view:
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