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Help! I Need More Calcium!
Over the past 20 years, much has been written about the importance of calcium in our diet. Many people have turned to calcium supplements and dairy products as their main food sources. It is often thought that calcium is only for bone strength, but it actually does a lot more. Let’s discuss the great sources of calcium in the diet and the effects on the body if there is a lack of calcium in the diet.
Calcium is an essential mineral that we need to ensure in our diet. According to a study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 75% of Americans do not meet current dietary recommendations for calcium. In conjunction with Magnesium, it is used for muscle contraction, bone density, tooth integrity, blood clotting, heartbeat, restores the proper pH in our body by removing acids, and contributes to nerve conduction. Repeated consumption of high fructose corn syrups and sugars and processed packaged foods that contain additives and hydrogenated oils causes the body’s pH level to become acidic. Many degenerative diseases stem from increased acid levels in the body, including: Osteoporosis, arthritis, abnormal cell growth and cancer, heart problems, kidney and gallstones, chronic fatigue, caries and mood swings. For calcium and vitamin D deficiency in childhood, common symptoms to look for are irritability, tremors, and nervousness. For newborns in particular, much of their intake comes from breastfeeding, and those infants who are bottle-fed will need to get more calcium from other sources.
Calcium can be found in a wide variety of food sources, including such vegetables as kale, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, cabbage, and dark green leafy vegetables. Almonds, sardines, linseed, oats, molasses, figs and watercress also contain good concentrations of calcium. Although it is well-publicized that dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) are great sources of calcium, unfortunately most of today’s pasteurization processes (where milk is heated to 160 degrees) reduce its nutritional value. Most nutrients are denatured and difficult for the body to absorb. In addition, due to the high content of phosphorus, milk from animal sources can act against the level of calcium in the blood. Calcium supplementation is also a good bet, but keep in mind that the body does a much better job of absorbing nutrients from whole foods like those listed above. Vitamin D works synergistically with calcium and can be obtained with less than ten minutes of sunlight a day. A study from Tufts University found that women age 65 and older who took the required amount of calcium and vitamin D daily for three years experienced less bone loss and fewer fractures.
Due to the higher incidence of osteoporosis in women, many women are much more aware of consuming more calcium in their diet. Osteoporosis causes the bones in the body to become porous and weak, with a greater risk of fracture. In fact, approximately 44 million Americans currently suffer from osteoporosis. Do you have PMS? According to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, out of nearly 500 women, “calcium was shown to be effective in reducing a wide range of PMS symptoms by up to 50%. Daily consumption has been shown to reduce cravings, headaches, bloating and mood swings by 50%.”
According to Kristi Monson, PharmD, the recommended daily allowance of calcium from natural dietary sources increases with age, from 500 mg in toddlerhood, 800 mg for people ages 4 to 8, to 1,300 mg during adolescence, and to 1,200 mg per day for people over 50 years. age.
There are many calcium absorption inhibitors in the normal diet that should be avoided. These toxic foods can deplete bone mass and also contribute to osteoporosis. Sodas and other carbonated drinks contain phosphoric acid and caffeine, which cause the body to overacidify and deplete calcium in the body. Processed foods, white flour, various sugars, and aspirin also contribute to calcium ineffectiveness. Many candies and sugary cereals advertise that they are fortified with excess calcium, but beware of the fact that due to the high sugar content, calcium is not properly absorbed by the body.
Exercise and physical activity promote stronger bones in addition to a proper diet. Proper spinal alignment allows the bones in the body to articulate much better, reducing calcium deposits and arthritic changes. By being proactive with a whole foods diet, avoiding processed foods, weight bearing and exercise, proper spinal alignment, and proper sunlight exposure and supplementation, getting your daily calcium intake is easier than ever!
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