Are you setting yourself up for brittle bones (i.e. premature ageing) without even realizing it?
Well, you are if you consume lots of sugar and salt, which tend to interfere with your body's absorption of calcium. And carbonated soft drinks can be even worse because they're loaded with a corrosive, calcium-depleting mineral called phosphoric acid.
The biggest culprits for robbing your body of calcium are processed foods, including fast foods and beverages. A majority of them are full of unhealthy levels of sugar and/or salt, as well as excessive calories in most cases.
But how exactly do acidic foods and drinks make your bones increasingly porous? This happens when calcium is leached from your bones, according to medical literature.
Furthermore, if you regularly rob your bones of calcium in this manner, you may end up with a calcium deficiency. This may set in motion a cascade of other health problems, including the following:
• High blood pressure
• Sleep problems
• Nervous tension
• Calcium deposits in arteries and joints
• Kidney stones or gallstones
• Susceptibility to bone fractures
• Muscle cramping
• Restless leg syndrome
The remedy to the damaging effects of calcium leaching foods is to replace them with bone-building foods. Good sources of calcium include the following:
• Fish, nuts, milk, cheese, yogurt (preferably unflavoured organic), and grapefruit
• Leafy green vegetables (especially kale and spinach), broccoli, and kelp
• Tofu, soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk (preferably the organic kinds)
• Powdered spirulina and chlorella (found in health food stores)
• Fish oils that are rich in essential fatty acids
Alkaline foods that you should also incorporate into your diet include the following:
• Fruit, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic
• Brown rice, wild rice, potatoes, and oats
• Protein powder made of hemp or whey
• Apple cider vinegar (which becomes alkaline in your body)
• Extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, and green tea
By avoiding or at least cutting down on acidic foods, especially junk foods, you're taking an important first step towards reversing the accelerated aging of your skeletal structure.
The next step is to start replacing bone-weakening foods with ones that are natural and calcium-rich, as well as plenty of alkaline foods (mostly veggies).
Now you're well on your way to restoring your bones to optimal health, which will help keep your body structurally strong for decades to come. In the process, you'll benefit from better posture, well-supported muscles, good balance and more overall vitality.
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As if you needed even more healthy incentive to eat your greens, turns out a cup of raw kale is loaded with a full 90 mg of calcium. That means a 3.5-cup kale salad provides even more of the bone-builder than a one-cup glass of milk.
While this citrus fruit has a (well-deserved) reputation for being loaded with healthy Vitamin C, one navel orange also provides 60 mg of calcium.
Three ounces of sardines, canned in oil with the bones, packs an impressive 325 mg per serving, or 33 percent of your daily value.
Drink up: this dairy-free alternative has just as much (about 300 mg in the plain SILK variety, for instance) as its skim, 2-percent and whole milk cousins.
Oatmeal has already won the breakfast hero award -- the fiber-packed meal, especially the steel cut variety, is both filling and heart healthy. But this power breakfast has a significant amount of calcium, as well -- one 35 g packet of Quaker instant oatmeal (the apple and cinnamon flavor), for instance, has 105 mg. CORRECTION: This slide has been updated to reflect that one 35 g packet contains 105 mg of calcium, not a 35 mg packet, as was previously stated.
An ounce of sesame seeds is loaded with 280 mg of calcium -- almost as much as an entire one-cup glass of milk.
Since cheese starts as milk, it follows that this dairy product would contain calcium, too. Swiss and gruyere varieties are amongst the highest -- a one-ounce serving provides 270 mg. Mozzarella has 200 mg, as do hard cheeses like cheddar and jack. Want to sprinkle a little parmesan on your dinner? It has 70 mg per tablespoon. Just keep portions in control -- too much of this good thing can add up to serious calories.
One cup of soybeans, boiled without salt, packs 261 mg of calcium.
A one-ounce serving of this nut provides 80 mg of calcium -- not to mention that it can help to tame high blood sugar, promote weight loss and cut cholesterol, to name just a few other health benefits (in moderation, of course -- too many almonds can add up to serious calories and fat).
We already know salmon is a nutritious fish, loaded with healthy fats and protein. And, it turns out, three ounces of canned salmon with the bones has a whopping 181 mg of calcium, according to Smithson (you have to eat the bones). Even a regular fillet of wild salmon has 24 mg.
According to Smithson, just one half cup of white beans is loaded with close to 100 mg of calcium.
An eight-ounce serving of plain, low-fat yogurt has 415 mg of calcium -- besting its dairy cousin, milk and racking up 42 percent of your recommended daily intake of the nutrient. Just be sure you're sticking to plain yogurt -- flavored versions can be packed with added sugar. And again, like milk, consider choosing yogurt from grass-fed, organic sources.
In the mood for something sweet? Reach for the figs. According to Smithson, just two dried figs offer 55 mg of calcium. (The treat is also high in fiber and iron.)
One cup of boiled turnip greens is loaded with close to 200 mg of calcium -- that means piling a little extra on the plate could make it as calcium-rich as a one-cup glass of milk.
The next time you whip up a salad, consider throwing in a few handfuls of arugula -- just one cup is loaded with 125 mg of calcium. At three cups, a full salad would pack close to 400 mg.
Your mom was right -- eat your broccoli. On top of a host of other health benefits, this green superhero of the vegetable world has 180 mg of calcium loaded into a cooked, one-cup serving.
One serving of hard tofu made with calcium sulfate (check the label) provides just over 250 mg of the nutrient.
A one-ounce serving of the dried seeds has 50 mg of calcium. Happy snacking!
The Doctors reveal surprising calcium sources you can add to your diet.