It’s no secret that calcium is good for you. You pour a glass of milk with your eggs for breakfast and go about your day thinking you just gave your body all the calcium it needs. It’s believed by many that by simply consuming dairy products, their bones will become stronger. Although that may be true to a degree, many do not take into account their lifestyle habits or diet, which can cause their body to either lose calcium or not absorb as much as it should. Here are the 5 traps you can easily fall into and lose the calcium in your body unknowingly:
1. Including spinach, cherries and chocolate in your diet
We like including spinach in our diets, assuming that our body is going to absorb the calcium we need from the vegetable. Spinach is well-known as a great source of calcium. However, what you may not know is spinach, along with berries and chocolate, are foods high in oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a substance that can bind with the calcium to form an insoluble salt crystal, which is easily carried away through the digestive system before our body is able to absorb the calcium. Therefore, the amount of calcium you can get from eating spinach may be much more insignificant than you expect.
For example, a half cup of cooked spinach only contains 115 mg of calcium. In order to get the same amount of calcium found in one cup of yogurt for your body, you need to eat over 16 cups of raw spinach or 8 cups of cooked spinach.
What to do: Try avoiding foods containing oxalic acid on the days when you consume foods with calcium so your body can absorb calcium more effectively.
2. Lack of vitamin D
There are a number of reasons why you may lack vitamin D. First, you don’t consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time.This could be the case if you follow a vegan diet because most natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based, which include fish, eggs yolks, and beef liver, to name a few. Second, your sunlight exposure is limited. Vitamin D is critical in helps our intestines absorb calcium by up to two to four times more.
What to do: Make sure you have diet or enough outdoor activities that sustains the supply of vitamin D before you consume a large amount of dairy products.
3. Being addicted to soft drinks
Apart from existing in soft drinks, phosphorous can also be found in natural foods like shellfish, cheese and porks. If you have too much phosphorous in your diet, it results in extra calcium loss through your urine. Your body will then take calcium from your bones to make up for the lack of calcium in your blood circulation. Eventually, this can lead to osteoporosis, which plagues many Americans today.
What to do: Some people are religious soda drinkers, and for some, it may be difficult to cut it out cold turkey. Keep track of how much soda you drink in a day, and do your best to cut that number in half. Try replacing a soda with flavored water or a power drink.
By being stressed, you have decreased blood flow to your digestive system which leads to lower HCL (hydrochloride). We need HCL to absorb calcium into our bodies since it is absorbed through the small intestine.
What to do: To stop this from happening, try meditating, keeping a journal, exercising, etc. Anything that allows you to have a healthy release of stress will be beneficial in helping your body absorb the most calcium that it can.
5. Absorbing excess protein
A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains that the consumption of large amounts of protein will lead to a condition known as hypercalciuria. This condition impairs your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is then discharged. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause your bones to thin as well as having an increased risk of sudden bone fractures and osteoporosis.
In addition to the above study findings, a 1981 study published in the Federation Proceedings explains that hypercalciuria appears to occur when protein consumption is approximately three times the recommended amount.
What to do: Everyone has different nutritional needs. However, it’s recommended that if you’re healthy, 25 percent of your daily calorie intake should be in the form of protein.
As you can see, obtaining calcium is a bit more complex than originally believed. Start making changes today to ensure your body is getting enough calcium so you can lead a healthier lifestyle.