Calcium In Diet


     Many people choose to avoid milk and other dairy products because they contain
fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, lactose, and frequently traces of
contamination. Milk is also linked to juvenile-onset diabetes, and other serious
conditions. Happily, there are plenty of other, safer and more reliable sources
of calcium. Keeping your bones strong depends more on preventing the loss of
calcium from your body than on boosting your calcium intake. Some cultures
consume no dairy products and typically ingest only 175 to 475 milligrams of
calcium per day. However, these people generally have low rates of osteoporosis.

Many scientists believe that exercise and other factors have more to do with
osteoporosis than calcium intake does. Calcium in the Body. Almost all the
calcium in the body is in the bones. There is a tiny amount in the bloodstream
which is responsible for important functions such as muscle contractions,
maintenance of the heartbeat, and transmission of nerve impulses. We constantly
lose calcium from our bloodstream through sweat and other excretions. It is
renewed with calcium from the bones. In this process, bones continually lose
calcium. This bone calcium must be replaced from food. Calcium needs change
throughout life. Up to the age of 30 or so, we consume more calcium than we
lose. Adequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is especially
important. Later, the body begins to slip into "negative calcium balance"
and the bones start to lose more calcium than they take up. The loss of too much
calcium can lead to soft bones or osteoporosis. How rapidly calcium is lost
depends, in part, on the kind and amount of protein you eat as well as other
diet and life-style choices. Reducing Calcium Loss. A number of factors affect
calcium loss from the body: Diets that are high in protein cause more
calcium to be lost through the urine. Pro tein from animal products is much more
likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plant foods. This may be one
reason that vegetarians tend to have stronger bones than meat eaters.

Caffeine increases the rate at which calcium is lose through urine. Alcohol
inhibits calcium absorption. The mineral boron may slow the loss of calcium
from bones. Exercise slows bone loss and is one of the most important
factors in maintaining bone health. Sources of Calcium: Exercise and a diet
moderate in protein will help to protect your bones. People who eat plant-based
diets and who lead an active life-style probably have lower calcium needs.

However, calcium is an essential nutrient for everyone. It is important to eat
calcium-rich foods every day. The following chart will tell you the calcium
content of many foods. Legumes Calcium (mg) Chickpeas, 1 cup,
canned....................78 Great Northern beans, 1 cup boiled.........121

Green beans, 1 cup boiled....................58 Green peas, 1 cup
boiled......................44 Kidney beans, 1 cup boiled.................50

Lentils, 1 cup boiled..............................37 Lima beans, 1 cup
boiled......................52 Navy beans, 1 cup boiled...................128

Pinto beans, 1 cup boiled.....................82 Soybeans, 1 cup
boiled......................175 Tofu, raw, firm - 1/2
cup......................258 Vegetarian baked beans, 1 cup..........128 Wax
beans, 1 cup canned................. 174 White beans, 1 cup
boiled.................161 If using "Calcium Fortified" products, check the
source of the calcium.