Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Calcium and the Paleo way of life!

One of my clients today forwarded an email to about her friend asking for recommendations on Calcium supplements if she goes Paleo. I know a lot of our members get really worried about cutting out dairy when going Paleo and here's the thing....we don't really need to worry about it at all while being Paleo. Would extra Calcium hurt you? Probably not, but if for piece of mind you choose to add it in or keep it that's totally fine. Read below to better understand why we don't need calcium through dairy and why Paleo is truly a cure-all way of life.

Q: How can I get enough calcium to build strong bones if I cut down or eliminate dairy foods and replace them with fruits and vegetables?

I heard or read recently that high-protein diets are detrimental to bone health. Is this true and how does it occur? Will The Paleo Diet damage my bones or give me osteoporosis?

A: In the U.S. calcium intake is one of the highest in the world, yet paradoxically we also have one of the highest rates of bone de-mineralization (osteoporosis). Bone mineral content is dependent not just upon calcium intake but upon net calcium balance (calcium intake minus calcium excretion). Most nutritionists focus upon the calcium intake side of the calcium balance equation, however few realize that the calcium excretion side of the equation is just as important.

Bone health is substantially dependent on dietary acid/base balance. All foods upon digestion ultimately must report to the kidney as either acid or base. When the diet yields a net acid load (such as low-carb fad diets that restrict consumption of fruits and vegetables), the acid must be buffered by the alkaline stores of base in the body. Calcium salts in the bones represent the largest store of alkaline base in the body and are depleted and eliminated in the urine when the diet produces a net acid load. The highest acid-producing foods are hard cheeses, cereal grains, salted foods, meats, and legumes, whereas the only alkaline, base-producing foods are fruits and vegetables. Because the average American diet is overloaded with grains, cheeses, salted processed foods, and fatty meats at the expense of fruits and vegetables, it produces a net acid load and promotes bone de-mineralization. By replacing hard cheeses, cereal grains, and processed foods with plenty of green vegetables and fruits, the body comes back into acid/base balance which brings us also back into calcium balance.

The Paleo Diet recommends an appropriate balance of acidic and basic (alkaline) foods (i.e., lean meats, fish and seafood, fruits, and vegetables) and will not cause osteoporosis in otherwise healthy individuals. Indeed, The Paleo Diet promotes bone health.

For additional reading on this subject, navigate to theArticles page, The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based on Paleolithic food groups.... and Paleo Diet Acid/Base Balance table.

1 comment:

  1. There is also a lot of calcium in veggies, mainly in cabbage, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, parsley, peas, pumpkin, turnip, dandelion and asparagus. Out of these, Chinese cabbage provides up to 58 mg of calcium per cup!

    Additionally, vegetables with calcium are easier to digest than animal sources of calcium. They are free from contaminants, bacteria and toxic substances.