The Vitamin Trap: Calcium Alternatives

If you are among the 40 million Americans who are lactose intolerant, or you’ve removed dairy products* from your daily diet, concerns over alternative sources of calcium are probably at the forefront of your mind. While scientific research shows conflicting data on exactly how much calcium is needed a day, there’s no question that it is an essential nutrient that helps your body machine run smoothly.Your body needs calcium for bone and teeth health, as well as various metabolic processes. Lack of this vital dietary element will manifest itself as lethargy, heart arrhythmia and numbness in your fingers and toes. Also, when the body senses it’s low on calcium, it will take from the reserves in your bones, making them weak and susceptible to fractures.

So how do you ensure that you’re ingesting enough calcium each day, besides multivitamins which can cause adverse side effects in some people? Click on the chart below for some of the abundant food options to help you keep your bones strong, your blood clotting, and your nerve and muscle functions on the up and up:

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For a quick, calcium-rich snack, try adding dates and almonds to your trail mix, and for lunch or dinner load up on greens like bok choy, kale or Swiss chard. And if you enjoy sardines and caviar you’re in luck–they’re also great sources of calcium.

Armed with a list of natural food sources of calcium, you’ll hardly want for this essential nutrient again. Saying goodbye to traditional dairy products need not be the initial doom-and-gloom situation you imagined it would be. Go forth and eat in good health!

*Always remember to consult a reputable physician or nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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