Friday, July 25, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Calcium

OK, if you watch the Dr. Oz shows you know that he is constantly telling us that we need Calcium.  Well, I personally, don't want to take any more pills than I have to so I started checking out why we need calcium, how much and how we can consume it without taking pills.  Here is what I found - yes, through Weight Watchers.

You need substantial quantities of calcium to keep your bones strong and to regulate your heartbeat and muscle and nerve function.  Eight out of ten American women suffer form a calcium deficiency (Sorry guys but it didn't tell me how many of you have a deficiency.).  A diet rich in calcium consumed during the childhood and teenage years is the best insurance against osteoporosis, the debilitating brittle-bone disease that strikes many older people.  Calcium also helps guard against periodontal disease and may have a protective effect against high blood pressure.   (In today's world these 2 statements worry me.  I see so many kids running around drinking juice boxes - some 100% juice some not.  I can't recall the last time I saw a kid drinking a milk box, not even chocolate.  When I was a kid we didn't have these little boxes to carry around with us but we did have milk - whole milk - at almost all meals.  What are we doing to supplement the calcium in our kids?)

Calcium is absorbed slowly, so it's best to consume it throughout the day, rather than trying to get your daily allowance all at once.  But... calcium absorption is inhibited by an excessive intake of dietary fiber.  For instance, if you eat an all-bran cereal with milk, you will miss out on some of the benefit of the milk's calcium.  (I am guilty of this.  Most of the cereal I eat is of a brand type and I've never even considered this possibility.)

The phosphoric acid in soft drinks displaces calcium, so don't drink soda with calcium-rich food.  (This I never knew.  What else is this phosphoric acid displacing?)

Both the natural sugar in milk (lactose) and the vitamin D added to it aid in calcium absorption.   So, if lactose intolerance prevents you from drinking milk or eating cheese, you can still get your calcium from yogurt and form vegetables and legumes.  (I do not have lactose intolerance but I've switched almost completely to Almond Milk.  The brand I buy (Blue Diamond) has 50% more calcium than milk, contains no cholesterol and has only 60 calories.  Taste wise - I buy the coconut blend and love it.  And no it isn't sweet so I even use it in my coffee.)

So, where, other than dairy products, can you get calcium?

Salmon, canned, pink, with bones - 3 oz. calcium 181
Cooked Broccoli - 1 cup calcium 178
Cooked Collard greens - 1 cup calcium 148
Orange - Navel - 1 med calcium 56
Cooked Spinach - 1 cup calcium 244
Tofu (Processed with calcium sulfate) - 3 oz. calcium 574

These are just a few of the possible ways to intake your calcium.  I did read further and found that if you must use a supplement keep this in mind.  Calcium is best absorbed when consumed in food, but if you know that calcium carbonate, one of the most effective supplements, is usually the least expensive.  Calcium carbonate-based antacids may supply as much as 550 mg of calcium per tablet.  But avoid supplements containing dolomite or bone meal.

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