Nourish - Can I Get Enough Calcium On A Plant-Based Or Dairy-Free Diet?|Part 2
Welcome to part two of our blog post on:
“Can I Get Enough Calcium On A Plant-Based Or Dairy-Free Diet?”
If you haven’t read part one, go check it out now.
There we covered:
- how much calcium we need
- how we absorb it
- what foods contain it
Now let’s discuss absorbency rates and robbers of this important mineral.
Supporting Calcium Absorbancy Rates
A diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole foods has more than enough calcium to meet your needs. However, additional foods to consider adding to your diet to boost the absorption of this mineral include:
For 100% plant-based eaters, look for:
- fortified products
- soya products
- some mushrooms
- of course, sunshine!
- you can also supplement with vitamin d.
For those avoiding dairy but eating animal products, look towards:
- fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, canned tuna
- the above-mentioned sources.
Vitamin K is crucial to preventing tooth decay and is essential for good teeth and bone health.
It’s an essential vitamin in the binding and absorption of calcium, and therefore wise to take alongside a calcium-rich diet or supplement.
K1 is synthesised by plants and vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, avocados, kiwis.
K2 is synthesised by gut bacteria e.g natto (fermented soya beans) and sauerkraut.
Generally speaking, K2 is recommended for optimal bone health over K1. Find it in your fermented foods or supplement it.
Try BetterYouVitamin D+K2 Spray or Source Of Life Garden Vitamin K2.
Magnesium is essential for bone and teeth health. It is required for the utilisation and control of calcium in the bones. Also, it increases the activity of vitamin D, which as we know, is also required for calcium absorption.
Food sources include: nuts, seeds, raw cacao, whole grains, leafy greens and avocados.
Boron is generally found in leafy green vegetables, grains, prunes, raisins, non-citrus fruits, and nuts. Phosphorous is in beans, lentils and nuts, whole grains and in smaller amounts in vegetables and fruit. That’s also where you’ll get your copper and selenium. Brazil nuts are great for upping your selenium levels.
As I mentioned previously, you should be able to get all your calcium requirements from a well-balanced diet. However, some people are recommended calcium supplementation from practitioners or doctors, so this bit is for you.
When looking for a calcium supplement I would recommend you purchase one in combination with other helping nutrients.
Vitamin D, C and K, along with minerals magnesium, boron, selenium, copper, zinc and phosphorus will really improve the absorption of the mineral. These nutrients also work together with calcium in the body, and so without them, the calcium won’t be able to do its various jobs in the body alone.
I would highly recommend the following products to help increase your calcium levels if using supplements:
Solgar Ultimate Bone Support
Biocare Osteoplex (Bone Health Complex)
Wild Nutrition Bone Complex
Natures Plus Source of Life Garden Bone Support
Mag365 Bone Support Formulation
If you are choosing to purchase calcium separately because you already have a multivitamin complex/supplement containing minerals such as magnesium, vitamin D etc. I will then leave you with this advice.
Calcium Citrate or Calcium Chelate and other soluble forms are the best forms of calcium to supplement with for optimal absorption. Try to avoid calcium carbonate as this is very poorly absorbed by the human body.
There are many things that can interrupt your body’s ability to absorb the calcium it receives. Some even cause calcium to be excreted from the bones. These are known as calcium robbers and include:
- Excessive intake of magnesium and zinc
- A highly acidic diet
- High phytate diet
- Hormonal imbalances
- Aluminium based antacids
- Taking iron and calcium supplements at the same time
If you’re knocking back your supplements with a big cup of coffee, followed by a stressful commute to work, stuffing a sugar-laden pastry into your mouth whilst sipping your 3rd coffee of the day, you may need to take a step back and look at your diet and lifestyle choices.
Also, if you’re eating a diet high in grains, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds, you will be consuming a lot of phytates. These have the unfortunate habit of leeching the mineral and vitamin content of your food and hindering their absorption. Do not fear.
Simply soak your grains/nuts/seeds overnight in water (or during the day whilst at work). Then, rinse them before consuming. 8-12 hours should do the trick. It also lowers the cooking time for grains such as rice and dried beans – bonus!
Have a read over our blog “What is Sprouting, How to Get Started and What are the Health Benefits” here for some helpful tips.
If you’re interested to read more about bone and teeth health, have a read over our series on Caring for Your Teeth Naturally.
And that’s it for our Can I Get Enough Calcium On A Plant-Based Or Dairy-Free Diet blog series. I hope this helped answer your questions 🙂
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.