Last week I had a client ask me how they were going to get in calcium since I said I wasn’t big on dairy. I told her through vegetables and she said she had never heard that before. Well before we get to how I was right, we’ll look at the importance of calcium. Most think of bones when they think of calcium. And they have good reason because 99% of calcium is found in the bones and teeth, and deficiency is associated with osteoporosis (check old post if you’re not familiar with this condition). Calcium and phosphate combine to form the major component of the mineral complex- calcium phosphate (well that’s easy to remember, right?). This complex gives structure and strength to the bones. Calcium isn’t just good for your bones though! Other responsibilities of calcium:
- blood clotting
- nerve conduction
- muscle contraction
- regulation of enzyme activity
- cell membrane function
When levels of calcium are too low than in order to maintain blood levels the body will take from stores in the bones to maintain, which can lead to osteoporosis. There are things to keep in mind that will affect absorption:
- adequate intake of vitamin D is necessary to absorb and utilize calcium
- certain fibers (like in wheat and oat bran) may interfere with absorption
- phytic acid (found in whole grains and legumes) can bind and form insurable complex, decreasing absorption
Good sources? Milk, I think not! I love the ranking I found took into account caloric intake and how many calories of food are necessary to provide the desired amount of calcium. Dairy it turned out are very good sources because of lower nutrient density.
- Excellent: spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens
- Very Good: swiss chard, kale, milk, basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, peppermint leaves
- Good: romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, sesame seeds, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, garlic, Brussels sprouts, oranges, asparagus, oregano, rosemary, parsley, kombu and kelp
Eat your greens and get your calcium (plus soak up the sun to absorb it). For more on our fat-burner programs check out our website at bodychange.net.