Still think cow's milk is the best natural source of calcium? Better wipe that white moustache off, because nutrition experts claim that the best sources of calcium are vegetables. In fact, they claim further that consuming too much animal protein (pork, beef, chicken, milk, etc.) may even rob the body of its precious calcium.
As a group, the calcium-rich plant foods are also the best sources of the cofactors of calcium metabolism, as cited by Paul Pitchford (author of Healing with Whole Foods). An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article by F. Ellis, titled "Incidence of osteoporosis in vegetarians and omnivores", cited that vegetarians were even found to have greater bone mass than meat eaters.
The high-protein diet of meat eaters robs their body of calcium, as cited by Dr. Neil Nedley, MD, author of Proof Positive (How to Reliably Combat Disease and Achieve Optimal Health through Nutrition and Lifestyle). He wrote that research evidence has indicated that an excessive diet of animal protein increases the risk of osteoporosis. "Study after study indicate that eating meat can cause a loss of calcium from the body. Research done at the University of Wisconsin illustrated particularly well the harmful effects of excess protein."
Studies of Linkswiller and associates in 1981 involving three groups showed that the high protein intake group lost calcium every day simply because of their high protein consumption. The excessive protein was leeching calcium from their bones even though they were getting plenty of calcium in their diet.
Dr. CM Weaver and Associates at Purdue University also cited in their study that humans absorb as much or more of the calcium in plant products than they do from milk (sourced from animals). The group’s study also revealed that although milk has a high calcium content, 60 to 80 percent of it is not absorbed through the human intestine.
Pitchford cited further reasons vegetarians have stronger bones and fewer calcium deficiencies in general:
• The digestion of meat results in acids must be neutralized by calcium and other alkaline minerals.
• Flesh protein contributes to a phosphorus/calcium ratio in Americans four times greater than desirable.
Pitchford explained that even though phosphorus is essential to calcium utilization, too much phosphorus depletes calcium.
•Sulfur, concentrated in meat, limits calcium absorption.
•Meat is rich in saturated fats, which combine with calcium to form a soap-like compound that is eliminated by the body.
Nedley enumerated the plant sources of calcium: soybeans and greens, oatmeal, lentils, Quinoa grain, rutabagas, dandelion greens, mustard greens, baked beans, sesame seeds (dried), blackstrap cane molasses, kale, turnip greens, Filberts/Hazelnuts (dried), and figs (dried).
Nedley said some leafy greens, aside from being good sources of calcium, have properties that help prevent cancer. Plant foods would also not extract calcium from our bones, he said. Nedley also explained: "If we avoid an excess level of protein intake (from animals) and eat a good variety of plant foods, our body calcium stores will likely be more adequate."
By Tessa R. Salazar, Business Inquirer