Calcium is a mineral in our body that keeps our bones and teeth strong. Although calcium is vital for our bones, we also need it for proper nerve, muscle and cardiovascular functioning. We store calcium in our bones and if we do not get proper amounts of this mineral from our diet our body will take it from the bones. Over time, this can be detrimental to your health and cause weakened bones, arthritis and osteoporosis.
In Western society we are bombarded with advertising from the dairy industry stating that we need milk, cheese and yogurt for a healthy diet and strong bones. Yes, dairy is a great source of calcium - but there are many other calcium rich foods to nourish our bodies. Dark leafy greens, bok choy, broccoli, fortified cereals and non-dairy milk, salmon (with edible bones) and sardines, to name a few. If you prefer dairy, buy brands that are hormone-free, organic and local if possible.
Supplements are always an option for optimal health. However, calcium supplements can cause constipation and should be balanced with proper magnesium consumption. We also need proper levels of Vitamin D in our body in order to absorb calcium. Sources of Vitamin D come spending time in the sunshine, ingesting cod liver oil, eating tuna, eggs and mushrooms. Talk to your doctor or wellness practitioner about more supplement options or dietary changes that are best for you.
Other things to consider when questioning if you’re getting enough calcium is intake of coffee, alcohol and whether or not you are getting enough exercise. Drinking caffeine can decrease absorption of calcium, whereas alcohol can suppress bone-building cells leading to weaker bones over time. Exercise is great for boosting mood and detoxifying the body, but also plays a role in keeping our bones strong and free from injury.