Many of us know that calcium helps strengthen our bones and teeth, which is why our parents made us drink milk as we were growing up. But calcium has more uses in the body. It is vital for heartbeat regulation, blood clotting, maintenance of immune system function, proper nerve communication, balancing hormones, and muscle relaxation.
Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men. Osteoporosis, osteopenia, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, under-active parathyroid’s, and premenstrual syndrome are signs of calcium deficiency in adults. Children deficient in calcium have increased risk for rickets.
Should you start supplementing then to avoid these diseases?
The problem with calcium is that it causes calcification’s in the arteries if consumed in excess, which is why food-based calcium is always better than supplemental calcium.
Food-based calcium can be a little tricky though, depending on the source and what the overall diet is like. The body makes sure that there is enough calcium in the blood, and would pull out calcium from the bones to make sure there is enough circulating calcium for the muscles, nerve cells, heart, and bodily fluids.
High calcium intake doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be protected from osteoporosis. Native Eskimos consume up to 2000 mg of calcium a day from fish bones, whereas the Bantu women of Africa consume only 350 mg a day. Guess which group has higher rates of osteoporosis? The Eskimos. In spite of a diet abundant in calcium Eskimos have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Why is this so?
Some health experts see a correlation between their osteoporosis rates and their high protein intake (250-400 grams a day). Most animal proteins are acidifying. Consuming acidifying foods creates a negative calcium balance. Calcium is an alkaline nutrient, and the body uses it to buffer acids to maintain a delicate balance to keep us alive. The key then to stronger bones is getting enough calcium, and eating just the right amount of protein you need to maintain your health.
Most of the alkalizing sources of calcium are plant foods. Tubers happen to be an alkaline food group. (dairy isn’t, and it becomes more acidifying with all the added sugar). Here’s an alkaline, high-calcium drink that won’t push your body to leach your bone’s precious calcium stores: 2 cups Tiger Nuts milk, 2 cups organic raw spinach, and, depending how naturally sweet you like it, 1-2 large and ripe frozen bananas. Blend and drink up!