It’s so important for woman in particular to keep on top of adequate calcium (along with Vitamin D) intake as women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men due to the accelerated bone loss that unfortunately comes with menopause. Bone Loss accompanies menopause because of the decrease in estrogen production which increases bone resorption (leaching from our bones) and decreased calcium absorption.
Diet is important but also weight-bearing exercises are needed for long term bone health. So get that body moving!
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000-1,200 mg/day for adults.
Dairy products contain a great amount of (Ca), however here is a nice list of non-dairy sources of (Ca):
- Almonds (raw) – 1 cup contains 385mg
- Sesame seeds (whole, dried) – 1 cup contains a massive 1404mg (but beware the oxalate content!)
- Figs (dried) – 1 cup contains 241mg
- molasses – 1 cup contains 691mg
- sardines (canned) – 1 cup contains 569mg
- Beans (black, chickpeas, kidney, white beans) range from 100mg – 150mg
- Natto (Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto.) – 1 cup contains 380mg
- Tofu (raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate) – contains 861mg
- Carob Flour – 1 Cup contains 358mg
(Green leafy vegetables - there are loads to choose from! here are some:)
- Broccoli raab (cooked) – 1 cup contains 100mg
- Chinese cabbage (Pak Choi) (cooked) – 1 cup contains 158mg
- Collard green (cooked) – 1 cup contains 268mg
- Dandelion Greens (cooked) – 1 cup contains 147mg
- Mustard Greens (cooked) – 1 cup contains 165mg
- Kale (raw) – 1 cup contains 137mg
Factors decreasing Calcium:
Caffeine stimulant in coffee and tea can modestly increase calcium excretion and reduce absorption.
Dietary sodium has a major impact of calcium secretion, Every 1-gram (g) increment in sodium (2.5 g of sodium chloride; NaCl salt) excreted by the kidneys has been found to draw about 26.3 milligrams (mg) of calcium into the urine.
Oxalates & Phytates found in some vegetables, grains, legumes, teas and nuts/seeds can have a significant effect on calcium absorption. So even through a type of food has a high content of calcium, the bioavailability might be very little. Looking at this information I always like to remember that we never really know what the true absorption rate is for specific nutrients in any food. It depends upon too many factors. One person might be able to absorb more compared to another person.
One way help offset the effects of phytates is through probacteria lactobacilli. Probacteria lactobacilli has been shown to reduce the negative impact of phytates by breaking the bond between the phytic acid and the mineral, thus allowing the mineral to be absorbed.
Here are some other tips for minimizing problems from oxalate:
- Boil high-oxalate leafy greens and discard the water.
- Drink plenty of fluid.
- Do not include large amounts of high-oxalate vegetables in your green smoothies. e.g. spinach!
Calcium is one mineral that approximately 45% of the population is at risk of being deficient in, nutrition through food is always my first target to achieve optimal health, however there are natural ways to supplement calcium with real food such as eggshells, I like to use a Calcium Oxymel, I use an organic apple cider vinegar, honey and free range farm fresh eggshells.
There are considerations to keep in mind when supplementing as there are effects of overdosage and toxicity as well as drug/nutrient interactions, so this will need to be assessed with a nutritional consultation for appropriate supplementing guidance.