Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vegan calcium

Who says dairy is the only source of calcium..? Oh ok, most people think so which is why when you tell someone you’ve turned vegan...they are aghast...”how will you get your calcium” and up goes their pitch....!!

So here it is...the best sources of calcium in the world are vegan...they are any day much better than dairy....Where can you find it? Oh I can shoot off... plant-based sources of calcium include kale, spinach, mustard greens, sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, raisins, dried figs, chickpeas, white beans, navy beans, cabbage, okra, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas, pumpkin, turnip, eggplant, asparagus, French beans, watercress, apricots, figs, oranges and many more.

How much to take in a day? Actually, don’t bother with cups and spoons to measure or even calorie charts...As long as you take calcium in some form daily it does not matter how much it is. A little more today and a little less tomorrow is ok with the system. Our system allows for such fluctuations without any damage to its self as long as you don’t completely omit a nutrient or mineral from your diet. Just remember to increase calcium intake with advancing age. Stay tuned-in to your body’s frequency and learn to recognize the symptoms for what they mean. The body speaks its own language. Cravings are one way the body asks for what it wants.

Have you ever been shocked by people eating paint scraped off walls or sand or other such stuff...? It’s the body’s way of screaming “I want calcium..!” Other usual symptoms of low calcium levels include white spots on nails or teeth, improper nail growth, dark eyelids, split nails etc. If it’s severe enough it can even cause fractures and osteoporosis. Its also required for certain other functions just as important - e.g., for blood clotting etc.

Calcium can only piggy back on vitamin D3! So if you have sufficient calcium levels and insufficient D3 levels you still don’t get the benefit of the adequate calcium levels because it won’t reach its destination, namely the teeth and bones. Why? Because there is no D3 to help it get absorbed. Maintaining good D3 levels is just cake walk, do nothing but stay out in the sunlight for 20 to 30 minutes daily and lo you’ve done it! But yes, remember to keep away from your sunscreens..!

To make things easy just go for regular testing – The serum D3 25 hydroxy test – which is a general test for D3. There is another quite exhaustive one which is 125 hydroxy, which is usually not required until specified by your physician. If you find your levels low, increase exposure to sunlight and if you find it very low, consult your physician to put you on oral supplements or injections of D3. Self prescribing this is not advised as overdosing can result in hypervitaminosis.

Stay away from cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, salt and the like (or sodium in any form) and you’ll prevent calcium from getting depleted. So limit those and exercise regularly for strong bones especially weight-lifting of any kind to strengthen bones. Strong and healthy bones and teeth...the vegan!

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