strong teeth and bones

The Mandatory Mineral: Calcium

Do you truly understand the immense power calcium has to help keep you young? No matter what age you are at right now, it is never too late to start getting more calcium into your diet. As I am sure you are aware your bones are aging, becoming brittle and where once a break would heal quickly and easily once you get a bit older healing is much slower. While it is well known that calcium is required for strong bones, cells need calcium too, in much higher doses than the average person gets in their diet today. When you add that to the fact that absorption rates decline as we age, it is no wonder that we need to get serious right now about getting more calcium.

 calciumHow Calcium Works

  •  Calcium is crucial in preventing brittle bones and deformities as we age. In order to be able to remain active and strong into our senior years we need to be getting plenty of calcium throughout our lives.
  • Helps prevent high blood pressure and helps to keep our heart strong and healthy
  • Calcium can play an active part in preventing cancer cells from becoming malignant
  • Calcium stops saturated fats from being absorbed into the GI tract, thereby helping keep bad cholesterol under control

 How to Get More Calcium into Your Diet

The best way to increase calcium intake is through diet. Making sure your cupboard and refrigerator are stocked with a wide variety of calcium-rich foods will make it easier to make good food choices. Leafy vegetables such as kale are a good source of calcium. Other calcium-rich foods are yogurt, sardines, salmon and broccoli. These foods are often referred to as the calcium super foods so eating them on a regular basis is advised. We all know that milk is another food with calcium, but unfortunately milk needs to be consumed in moderate amounts because it contains fats. This is not to say that milk should be completed removed from your diet because it shouldn’t, unless of course you are lactose-intolerant. It may be tempting to opt for the highly processed milk products but for the most part these should be avoided.

The ideal source of calcium, according to Ayurveda health experts, is found in white sesame seeds (or til). To prepare white sesame seeds to eat, do the following:

Summer: Soak 1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds in water overnight. The next morning you can drain off the water and then the seeds can be chewed. Be sure to chew slowly.

Winter: Do not soak the seeds. Just chew the seeds slowly and follow with some warm milk if desired.

There are many foods that can be added to your diet to help you get enough calcium daily. You could make a vegetable soup out of leafy green vegetables, whip up a fruit smoothie using yogurt as the base, add sprouted Mung beans to a salad or sandwich, and stir-fried okra is another tasty way to get calcium.

I can almost hear you asking “But why can’t I just take supplements?” You CAN take supplements but they are never as good as real calcium from foods. If you do choose to take a supplement make sure it also contains Vitamin D because it helps the calcium get absorbed. Other vitamins that aid in the absorption of calcium are C, E and K. Magnesium and boron are also helpful. All are also helpful in increasing bone mass, which is what we are aiming for. Regular exercise is not only good for our all-round health but it too helps with calcium absorption, so get out there and walk each day.

Here is Rajiv explaining how to create a delicious calcium rich dish.