The Scoop on Calcium

Milk does the body good. Got milk?

Milk is everywhere in advertising and promoted as a source of calcium. Milk was also introduced in schools for break time and lunches back in the 70’s. However, our rate of osteoporosis has increased over the last decades and now is milk a health food?

What do we do to get our calcium? Should we take calcium supplements?

When you have a cold, many people advise you to not drink milk since it can cause an increase in phlegm. What is pasteurized milk doing to you the other days when you don’t have the phlegm factor to monitor inflammation?

I recall in the 1980’s when my family went from whole milk and titrated down to skim, since everyone was doing it and it was suppose to be better for our health. After many weeks of stomach aches, we jumped back up to 2%. Now, if you have a strong belief that you need milk and your digestive tract thrives from it, try whole, organic milk and even give raw milk a try from sources you trust.

If you do not do well on milk, here are other sources of calcium for you to implement into your diet.

1. Sesame Seeds

Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds

A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium.

3. Dark Leafy Greens

Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving.

4.  Broccoli

74 mg of calcium, along with 120mg of vitamin C which will help your body absorb the calcium. Broccoli also contains a high amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, foliate and dietary fiber.

5. Almonds

Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

6. Bone-in Fish

3 oz of sardines has 320 mg of calcium.

A great recommendation is 400-600 mg per day of calcium. I personally do not recommend calcium supplements for many people. Here is some information from the Mayo Clinic, and many of my peers agree:

Calcium supplements aren’t for everyone. For instance, if you have a health condition that causes excess calcium in your bloodstream (hypercalcemia), you should avoid calcium supplements. If you aren’t sure if calcium supplements are appropriate for your situation, talk to your doctor.

It’s thought that the calcium in supplements could make its way into fatty plaques in your arteries — a condition called atherosclerosis — causing those plaques to harden and increasing your risk of heart attack. More research is needed before doctors know the effect calcium supplements may have on heart attack risk.

So that being said, I do not recommend a specific form of calcium supplements alone. Some experts say calcium citrate, calcium orotate and other forms. I would recommend a more comprehensive approach and include Mg, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin C. 

Eat your veggies,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N


Photo by: Stacy Spensley

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