Seven tips to increase your calcium absorption:
- Get sufficient vitamin D from sun light
- Eat calcium-, magnesium-, chlorophyll-, and mineral-rich foods, especially grains, legumes, leafy greens (including cereal grasses and micro-algae), and seaweeds.
- Avoid calcium inhibitors (chocolate, coffee, alcohol, sugar and excess consumption of any sweetener (e.g. honey, rice syrup, etc.), excess meat consumption)
- Exercise regularly and moderately to halt calcium loss and increase bone mass.
- Presoak grains, legumes, nuts and seeds before cooking/consumption to neutralize their phytic acid content, which otherwise binds the calcium, zinc, iron and other minerals in these foods.
- Use oxalic acid foods sparingly – rhubarb, cranberries, plums, spinach, chard and beet greens
- If dairy is used, they fermented forms are easier to digest – kefir, etc.
Calcium is not only an important mineral that is essential to strengthen and build our bones.
- calms the nerves
- relaxes the liver and
- benefits the heart.
Absorption and Utilization of Calcium
When we want to improve our calcium status to maintain a healthy bone mass it is not only crucial to eat calcium rich foods. We need to make sure that we absorb and utilize the calcium from foods effectively. As all the minerals in the body are in a delicate and dynamic balance, an improvement in calcium absorption will also improve the effective use of other minerals in the body. Calcium absorption requires adequate dietary magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C and D. Without certain of those nutrients, it appears that calcium can not be absorbed at all.
Dairy Foods as the Synonymous for Calcium
Calcium in our diet is perceived as almost synonymous to the use of dairy products. However, dairy foods are generally not of good quality and this is perhaps one of the main reasons that so many people in the Western World, who consume large amounts of dairy (25% of the average diet), still have widespread calcium deficiency problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis. In China and areas of Southeast Asia where diary consumption is minimal, arthritis and bone deteriorations are not the major health problems as they are in the wealthier countries.
Regtop, H. Is magnesium the grossly neglected mineral? International Nutrition Review? International Clinical Nutrition Review 3: pp 18-19, July 1983
Levine, B. and Coburn, J. Magnesium: the mimic/antagonist of calcium. New England Journal of Medicine 310: pp 1253-1255, May 10, 1984
Pitchford, P. Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (ed 3). Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002