Calcium and Bone Mass

Calcium, dietary needs, and the building blocks of bone mass

As calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, delivering dietary sources is important for healthy functioning of the body. The following will identify dietary sources of calcium first in natural sources, then options for supplementation. Natural sources are always preferred, but not always convenient for the busy lifestyles most individuals lead.

Calcium dietary supplement tablets.

Calcium dietary supplement tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From childhood on we are told that dairy products are a terrific source of calcium with milk, cheese, butter and yogurt being the most common sources. Recently some dietary experts have contested the recommendation of dairy in a healthy diet, citing potential health problems that may result from dairy byproducts being consumed. Some dietitians point out that a mother provides milk only for a brief period of infancy with all mammals. Dairy is high in saturated fat, which is a dense energy source that is usable by small children and infants. However, a diet that contains saturated fat in adults increases the risk of heart disease.  For this reason individuals may choose low-fat or non-fat versions of dairy products. There are also hormones present in milk and dairy products. Choosing organic milk products will avoid many of the hormonal additives that are given to milk cows. Even with organic versions, cows naturally have estrogen present in the milk they produce. Estrogen is typically held with the milk fat, therefore choosing low-fat, or non-fat may help reduce exposure.

Though dairy items are common in a typical diet, many individuals do not digest bovine milk, and milk byproducts properly. These lactose intolerant individuals can opt for lactose-free milk-based products, or look for other sources of calcium.

In some cuisines around the world, beans are common. Beans are an effective source of calcium, and are in abundance. Vegetables, primarily green leafy vegetables are a source of calcium. A few suggestions are:

– Kale

– Spinach

– Celery

– Broccoli

– Fennel

– Romaine lettuce

– Green beans

– Parsley

– Oregano

– Okra

– Bok Choy


Certain spices can also include dietary calcium. Dill, basil, arugula, thyme, garlic, rosemary, and cinnamon, just a few identified with high levels.

If the proper levels of dietary calcium cannot conveniently be attained, supplementation is an option. There are foods that are calcium fortified, as they are prepared, cereals, and orange juices often are fortified with calcium. Multivitamins typically have calcium included. Be aware that not all calcium supplements are equal. Make sure to read labels, and read reviews, specifically by physicians knowledgeable in the field of nutrition, when choosing what type of calcium supplements to take.



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