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Do Not Starve Your Bones!

Calcium is one of the most essential minerals in the human body. It helps form and maintains healthy teeth and bones. A proper level of calcium in the body over a lifetime can help prevent osteoporosis.
Calcium aids your body with:
• Building strong bones and teeth
• Clotting blood
• Sending and receiving nerve signals
• Squeezing and relaxing muscles
• Releasing hormones and other chemicals
• Keeping a normal heartbeat

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Many foods contain calcium, but dairy products are the best source. Milk and dairy products such as yoghurt, cheeses, and buttermilk contain a form of calcium that your body can easily absorb. Other sources of calcium that can help meet your body’s calcium needs include:
• Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and bok choy or Chinese cabbage
• Salmon and sardines canned with their soft bones
• Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini, and dried beans
• Blackstrap molasses
Calcium is often added to food products. These include foods such as orange juice, soy milk, tofu, ready-to-eat cereals, and bread. These are a very good source of calcium for people who do not eat a lot of dairy products.
Ways to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet:
• Cook foods in a small amount of water for the shortest possible time to keep more calcium in the foods you eat. (This means steaming or sautéing to cook instead of boiling foods.)
• Be careful about the other foods you eat with calcium-rich foods. Certain fibres, such as wheat bran, and foods with oxalic acid (spinach and rhubarb) can bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. This is why leafy greens are not considered an adequate source of calcium by themselves because your body is unable to utilize much of the calcium they contain. People on a vegan diet need to be sure to also include soy products and fortified products in order to get enough calcium.

Side Effects
Increased calcium for a limited period of time does not normally cause side effects. However, receiving higher amounts of calcium over a long period of time raises the risk of kidney stones in some people.
Those who do not receive enough calcium over a long period of time can develop osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time). Other disorders are also possible.
People with lactose intolerance have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar in milk. Over-the-counter products are available that make it easier to digest lactose. You can also buy lactose-free milk at most grocery stores. Most people who do not suffer from severe lactose-intolerance are still able to digest hard cheeses and yoghurt.
Tell your healthcare provider about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. Your provider can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines. In addition, some medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs calcium.

 

References:

www.medlineplus.gov

www.healthyeating.sfgate.com

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