Friday, September 23, 2016

Critical Calcium

Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If people aren't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis.

Knowing which foods to avoid when taking a supplement or eating calcium-rich foods can help your body use more of the calcium you consume. Research reveals that consuming certain foods can interfere with calcium absorption. That's important because we typically use only 30 - 50 % of calcium from food. Try these tips to increase your calcium levels and maintain bone health.

Foods That Dilute Calcium

The oxalates in spinach, sweet potatoes and cocoa reduce the absorption of calcium from those foods. To increase calcium intake, combine with some cheese.

Salt increases calcium excretion through urine and sweat. Try increasing potassium-rich foods like bananas or cantaloupe to help counteract this effect.

High fiber foods reduce the absorption of calcium in other foods eaten at the same time. For example, cereal and milk. When you increase fiber, try to increase calcium intake, too.

Caffeine, a diuretic, can also increase calcium loss through urination. A smart option is to take your supplement in the afternoon or evening when you're probably limiting caffeine intake already.

Phosphorus, found in meat, poultry, corn and potatoes, also interferes with calcium absorption. Choosing a few meatless meals can reduce your phosphorus intake and increase overall calcium levels in your diet.

Ways to Boost Calcium Intake

*Increase Vitamin D to aid absorption

*Add magnesium, which keeps calcium soluble and available for your body.

*Take your supplement with orange juice because Vitamin C improves absorption of calcium.

*Try splitting your supplement into two 500mg doses - one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

*Consume more calcium-rich foods: navy or white beans, Chinese cabbage, dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, seafood (crab, salmon, sardines, shrimp), and seeds.

Make one or two changes this week to increase calcium levels. Enjoy eating a variety of foods and keep those bones strong! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

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