Excerpt from my first book ‘Elixir: How To Use Food As Medicine’.
In the Western world we have a high intake of cows dairy and a high incidence of osteoporosis, so perhaps we need alternative sources of calcium that contain magnesium to help the calcium get into the bones, and without all the additives that cows milk contains.
It has been shown that animal protein causes the body to excrete calcium more quickly than plant protein. Coffee also has this effect, along with an excess of unfermented soy products such as milk and tofu. Rich sources of calcium include leafy green vegetables, quinoa, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, molasses, sea vegetables and tahini. Parsley and other herbs are also good sources.
Green plants are higher in calcium than any other food. However, beet greens, plums, cranberry, silver beet and unhulled tahini are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits calcium absorption.
Calcium is essential for the proper functioning of your heart, bones, nerves and muscles. It is necessary for:
• the prevention of cardiovascular disease
• muscle growth and the prevention of cramps
• blood clotting
• strong bones, teeth and gums
• the prevention of cancer and osteoporosis
• the breakdown of fats
• healthy skin
• proper digestion
• the nervous system.
Recommended daily intake of calcium
Stage of life RDI (mg per day)
Up to 7 years 800
8–11 years 900
12–15 years 1000
16–54 years 800
Pregnant—first two trimesters 1100
Pregnant—last trimester and lactating 1200
Up to 11 years 800
12–15 years 1200
16–18 years 1000
19 years and over 800
Calcium-rich foods Milligrams per 1000 mg food
Agar agar (seaweed) 400
Chia seeds 500
Cows milk 119
Cows yoghurt 121
Ground beef 10
Sesame seeds 110
Sunflower seeds 174
Tofu, firm 100
Wheatgrass and barley grass (dried) 514