A New You!
Let’s take this time to cover a few popular questions:
If I give up dairy, how will I get enough calcium?
Don’t I need calcium for my bones?
Almost all of the calcium in the body is in the bones. There is a tiny amount in the bloodstream, which is responsible for important functions such as muscle contraction, maintenance of your heartbeat, and transmission of nerve impulses.
We regularly lose calcium from our bloodstream through urine, sweat, and feces. The blood stream is renewed with calcium from bone or from the diet.
Bones are constantly broken down and made anew. Up until the age of 30 or so, we build more bone than we lose. Later, the bones tend to break down more than build up. The loss of too much bone calcium can lead to fragile bones or osteoporosis.
How rapidly calcium is lost depends, in part, on the kind and amount of protein you eat, as well as other diet and lifestyle choices.
Bone health appears to benefit from replacing animal protein with vegetable sources of protein.
A number of factors affect calcium loss from the body:
- Diets that are rich in meat, fish, dairy products, nuts and grains contribute to more calcium loss from bones due to the acidic load on the kidneys from such foods
- Protein from animal products is much more likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plant foods due to the acidic load on the body
- Diets high in sodium increase calcium losses in the urine
- Caffeine & Smoking increases the rate at which calcium is lost
(Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association)
A number of factors increase bone building in the body:
- Eating a plentiful amount of fruits and vegetables helps to keep calcium in bone
- Fruits and vegetables are packed with other minerals –potassium & magnesium, which support bone health through an alkaline environment (opposite of acidic environment)
- Consuming calcium from plant-based sources, especially green vegetables and beans, provides several of the building blocks for bone building
- Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining bone health.
- Exposure to sunlight allows the body to make the bone-building hormone-like vitamin D
(Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)
Some fruits, vegetables and nuts are naturally high in oxalic acid -which inhibits calcium absorption.
So if you only have eyes for: Swiss chard, raw spinach, beet greens, leeks, rhubarb and berries, almonds, peanuts, and pecans (all high in oxalic acid)…remind yourself how valuable a varied diet is!
The more variety you bring into your diet, the more opportunities you will create to consume (absorbable) calcium from many, many other plant foods!
CALCIUM IN FOODS
(content in milligrams)
Broccoli (1 cup, boiled) 62
Brussels sprouts (1 cup, boiled) 56
Butternut squash (1 cup, baked) 84
Carrots (2 medium, raw) 40
Cauliflower (1 cup, boiled) 20
Collards (1 cup, boiled) 266
Kale (1 cup, boiled) 94
Sweet potato (1 cup, baked) 76
Black turtle beans (1 cup, boiled) 102
Chick peas (1 cup, boiled) 80
Great Northern beans (1 cup, boiled) 120
Kidney beans (1 cup, boiled) 62
Lentils (1 cup, boiled) 38
Navy beans (1 cup, boiled) 126
Pinto beans (1 cup, boiled) 79
Soybeans (1 cup, boiled) 175
Soymilk (1 cup, calcium-fortified) 368
Tofu (1/2 cup, raw, firm) 253
Vegetarian baked beans (1 cup) 86
White beans (1 cup, boiled) 161
Corn tortilla 42
Rice Milk (1 cup, enriched) 300
Wheat bread (1 slice) 26
Whole wheat flour (1 cup) 41
Dried figs (10 figs) 140
Naval orange (1 medium) 60
Orange juice (1 cup, calcium-fortified) 300*
Raisins (2/3 cup) 53
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2004.
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Nutrient
Data Laboratory Web site, http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp
* package information
- Event Information: For a list of 28-Day Challenge events at a Whole Foods Market, Northern California & Reno stores near you, visit: http://www.e2challengenorcal.com click “Events” tab
These blogs are not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in all matters relating to his or her health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.