Top 5 foods that will provide you with calcium while maintaining your blood pH and preventing calcium loss
You’ve heard it before, we all have – you need calcium for strong bones, and you should get your calcium from dairy.
While these statements are not completely false, they are also not completely true. I feel very strongly about this topic because there is a significant amount of inaccurate information being spread by media, government, and the medical profession about what we need to do to maintain bone health. I have a serious bone to pick with the food and health industry, pun intended.
While calcium IS important for bone health, there are other vitamins and minerals that contribute to strong bones. Magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and strontium are just a few of the other essential components of bone health. These nutrients are often highly overlooked when people consider taking a supplement or eating for bone health. This is particularly concerning with new research demonstrating that supplementing with calcium solely can be dangerous due to its effect on the heart. Supplemental calcium, especially taken in large doses, can deposit into arterial walls and cause plaques to form. When plaques form, blood is less able to flow smoothly, which can lead to heart disease. Supplementation is most often recommended during and after menopause due to the loss of estrogen which causes bone loss. Be sure to consider taking a supplement that contains magnesium in addition to calcium, as well as vitamin D to improve absorbability.
It also matters where you get your dietary calcium from. Traditionally, we think calcium should come from dairy – because the media says so, our governments say so, and even our doctors say so. The truth is, calcium from dairy sources is highly acidic. Our blood likes to remain at a neutral pH (a balance between acidic and basic) for proper functioning. When we consume acidic foods, our blood becomes more acidic too. In order to restore its neutral pH (its happy place), it will take from more basic sources – in this case, calcium in bone. Calcium is a basic mineral that can help restore acid/base balance. In other words, when we consume dairy, we are making our blood more acidic, forcing it to steal from bones to get back to a more neutral pH. This causes calcium, which is basic in nature, to leach from bones. When calcium leaches from bones, our bones become weaker and more brittle. So actually, consuming dairy as a calcium source has the opposite effect as what many of us think.
Here are my top 5 foods that will provide you with calcium while maintaining your blood pH and preventing calcium loss:
- Dark greens: kale, collard greens, swiss chard, broccoli
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds
- Fish: canned salmon, sardines, canned clams
- Blackstrap molasses
Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments five days a week. If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment. The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.