Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body and is essential for the regeneration of strong teeth and bones. Due to misinformation from the dairy industry, many people believe that the only source of calcium comes from milk, cheese, and other dairy products; and, that following a plant based diet will leave a person without adequate supplies of calcium and other important minerals that are required for optimum health and wellbeing.
The truth is, many different foods provide more than enough calcium for a healthy diet. Additionally, the high heat applied during the pasteurization process used to commercially produce milk actually destroys most of the calcium content, and anything that remains cannot be easily absorbed by the body.
Along with eating adequate supplies of high-calcium foods, there are numerous calcium supplements available in most health food stores for those who wish to boost their calcium intake to provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals their bodies require to stay healthy.
Dairy Industry Deception
Due to decades of successful promotion by the dairy industry, most people believe milk to be a safe, healthy source of calcium that is an essential part of a balanced diet. Almost all of the mass-produced milk sold in large supermarkets in the United States comes from cows that have been injected with the growth hormone rBGH which has been genetically engineered by Monsanto to increase milk production. Drinking milk contaminated with this hormone raises the level of insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the human body. Increases in this hormone create an environment for certain diseases to thrive, such as breast cancer, diabetes and various upper respiratory infections.
Cows are also force fed antibiotics and kept in appalling conditions, and manufacturers often use pasteurization to kill bacteria that has developed as a result of poor hygiene in dairy farms. There is now a growing amount of evidence that shows that raw milk is a far healthier alternative to pasteurized milk. Raw milk is packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals , and live enzymes that help the body break down food. It is a clean source of calcium for those that include dairy in their diet; however, for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply don’t like the taste of milk, there are many other healthy alternatives.
Calcium Sources for Vegans
Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens are all excellent sources of calcium, and just one cup of cooked collard greens can provide 357mg of calcium. Certain vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard have a high calcium content, but they also contain oxalic acid which makes it difficult for the human body to absorb the calcium. Nuts and seeds often have a higher calcium content than the equivalent amount of milk, and one cup of whole almonds provides a whopping 378mg, whereas one cup of milk supplies only 299mg. Sprinkling a tablespoon of sesame seeds over a salad or sandwich will provide 88mg of calcium, and a whole cup will provide even more than the recommended daily allowance of 1000mg. Dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary can easily be added to most dishes, and all contain around 80mg of calcium in just one tablespoon.
Vitamin D and Calcium
In order for the human body to properly absorb calcium, there must also be an adequate supply of vitamin D. It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from foods, as it is only found in trace amounts. Unlike calcium, the body can create its own vitamin D supply by way of exposing the skin to sunlight, which then aids calcium absorption.
Calcium supplements are easily absorbed, but there has been some controversy regarding their safety. A study by universities in Germany and Switzerland found that taking calcium supplements increased the risk of heart attack in some patients, but this evidence has been refuted by more recent studies. As with most medicines, the natural alternative is usually the best, and adding a few extra foods with a high calcium content should be enough to ensure a balanced diet.
As well as building strong teeth and bones, calcium is also required by the body for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion. Ensuring the body has all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to properly regenerate itself is the first step on the path to health and vitality, and the correct diet will provide everything it requires to heal and renew itself.
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