We need calcium for our bones. This statement is oftentimes interpreted as consuming sufficient quantities of dietary calcium, mostly in the form of milk. However that is just one aspect. It is also important that the calcium we eat is being absorbed by our bodies. Further, our lifestyle and diet should not deplete the calcium in our bones.
A diet that consists of mostly acid-forming foods such as refined foods, processed foods, sugary foods, glutinous foods leads to insufficient calcium, poor bone health and osteoporosis. In order for us to survive, the blood always has neutral pH. If the body has to process acid-forming foods continuously, in order to maintain the neutral pH of the blood, it draws calcium from the bones, the mineral in our body that is most alkaline. Over time, our bones weaken as our body keeps working to maintain the neutral pH.
Many doctors who work with their patients for regaining their health through dietary change are turning towards plant-based sources for calcium. They provide an easily absorbable source of calcium. Currently, most urban societies believe that milk is the main source of calcium. Consider the calcium content in the following food products per 100 gram portion:
|Cow’s Milk||120 mg|
|Sesame Seeds Unhulled||1160 mg|
Data from Sharan India
Our body can only absorb 30% of the calcium in cow’s milk. Further, it is not easy for us to digest the protein found in cow’s milk. This leads to an acidic environment in the body which results in further depletion of calcium from our bones. From the above table, we can see that there are healthier alternatives to milk which have a much higher calcium content. Ragi, for instance, has a very high calcium content. Further, being a millet, it is also non-glutinous and non acid-forming. Adding ragi to your diet is a good way to get dietary calcium that your body can absorb.
Brazier, Brendan. Thrive – The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. Da Capo Press, 2007.
Fuhrman, Joel, M.D. Disease-Proof Your Child – Feeding Kids Right. St. Martin’s Press, 2005.