The words "milk" and "calcium" are often spoken in the same breath to emphasize the widespread and deeply ingrained perception that milk is necessary for strong bones. But milk is not the best or healthiest source of calcium for us.
Milk and Calcium
There is no doubt that milk is an excellent source of nourishment for babies and is rich in calcium having around 300 mg per cup. However it is also species specific and has a nutrition profile suitable for the young of the same species. For example, cow’s milk contains on average three times the amount of protein than human milk that is required for faster physical growth of calves but which creates metabolic disturbances in humans.
Bones and Calcium
Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body which in turn triggers a biological reaction. Since calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the bones its biggest store in the body, it is pulled out from them to maintain the delicate ph balance. This excess calcium in the blood is then filtered out in the urine leaving a net calcium deficit in the bones. The more consumption of dairy, the more risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Diet and Calcium
The current daily recommended allowance for calcium for most adults is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams. However if our diet is high in animal protein it will have a high excretion rate which means we have to consume more calcium to make up for the body’s loss. When we eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, calcium excretion rates are much less, which considerably lowers its intake requirement.
Plants and Calcium
Calcium like many other minerals is found in the soil, where it is absorbed into the roots of plants. Animals get their calcium by consuming these calcium-rich plants. So even though we are all conditioned to believe that calcium comes from milk and dairy products, the real and best source is the earth’s soil. A varied diet of starches, vegetables, and fruits has sufficient calcium to meet our daily needs. Some plant foods that are specifically rich in calcium are sesame seeds, greens like broccoli and spinach, fruits and dry fruits like almonds and oranges.
For more information visit www,pcrm.org, www.nutritionfacts.org