Is dairy the best way to obtain calcium? Many people believe so, however, obtaining calcium is more than simply how many milligrams we consume daily. How much you consume isn’t necessarily the issue, rather how much you absorb. Many factors influence calcium absorption, including age, the amount of calcium you require, amount consumed, and other compounds that accompany it when consumed.
Dairy does contain high amounts of calcium, however it also contains high amounts of animal protein, which is acidic within your body causing an increased amount of calcium to be excreted in the urine. This is an excellent video explaining how the pH of our bodies is affected by various factors, including calcium absorption.
Dietary factors that induce calcium loss in the urine include:
- Animal protein
- Refined sugar
- Aluminum-containing antacids
- Drugs such as antibiotics, steroids, and thyroid hormones
- Vitamin A supplements
There are plant foods that are really rich in calcium. A few include…
- Dark leafy greens, such as bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce
- Tofu and tempeh
- Sesame seeds and tahini
- Dried figs
Other important factors for bone health are:
- Strength training – Generally muscle health mirrors bone health.
- Adequate Vitamin D levels, which are best obtained from the sun.
Your jaw may have dropped at the thought of removing or significantly reducing dairy from your diet. I promise you don’t have to leave all of your favorites behind! Explore a few of our “cheesy” favorites to not only omit dairy but to move toward ingredients that nourish as well!