Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calcium and Your Health

Are you getting enough calcium in your diet? Here are some ideas that might surprise you about this important mineral:

The best sources for calcium are as follows:
  • Leafy green vegetables like broccoli
  • Other greens such as spinach, collard, bok choy, and kale
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Raw, organic, unpasteurized dairy - milk, cream, kefir, cheese, and butter
The following are not good sources for calcium:
  • Fortified drinks like orange juice, soy, rice, or nut milks
  • Pasteurized dairy products - consumption of these foods can actually lead to leeching of minerals from the bone since they have been heated up and denatured, causing malabsorbtion of minerals and vitamins. The naturally occurring fats, proteins, and enzymes present in clean, organically produced raw dairy are needed to absorb vital nutrients and for good nutrition. If you've ever experienced symptoms of lactose intolerance, this may be the reason why. Basically, pasteurized milk has been heated up which effectively kills friendly bacteria and nutrients. Then synthetic minerals and vitamins are added back in. Try raw milk and visit Organic Pastures for more information.
  • Other fortified "foods" such as many health bars, cereals, and other grain products.
If you are not receiving adequate calcium in your diet, a good supplement that is organically produced and whole-foods based should be a starting point. There are some good calcium supplements on the market which can be chosen if calcium intake is still not optimal. Cal-Mag-Fizz is a good product containing other minerals and viamins to help with absorption, baking soda, stevia for sweetness, fructose, and citric acid. Another good brand is Solaray. If you are looking for a calcium supplement, make certain yours does not contain calcium carbonate, as this type of calcium comes from limestone and the body is largely unable to absorb it. Good calciums to include in your supplement are citrate, lactate, hyrdoxide, and glycerophosphate.

According to Calcium Information (.com), here are the guidelines for calcium consumption by age:

Age / Calcium (mg/day)
0 to 6 months: 210
7 to 12 months: 270
1 to 3 years: 500
4 to 8 years: 800
9 to 13 years: 1300
14 to 18 years: 1000
19 to 50 years: 1000
51+ years: 1200
50+ women: 1500

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