Many people come to me worried that they have to give up milk because of an intolerance to cow-dairy.
But, where will I get my calcium from?
My answer is: Don’t worry! There are many ways to
ensure you will get enough calcium both from eating non-dairy sources of calcium and taking care to ensure that you hold on to the calcium your body already has.
- Everyone needs to drink (cow’s) milk
Not true. The most common allergy is to milk and cow-dairy products. You can be intolerant to either the lactose (sugar) or any of the 25 different proteins in milk which is why lactose-free milk is not always the answer. Most of us actually develop lactose intolerance in early adolescence but don’t realize it and keep drinking milk even though we experience gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and any other number of symptoms. If you are intolerant to cow-dairy, your body is unable to digest the dairy and absorb the calcium. As well, you can lose calcium from your body because the undigested lactase will ferment in your intestines and create lactic acid. Calcium is then leached from your bones to counteract the acidity.
- Dairy products will help prevent osteoporosis
Pasteurized milk contains 50% less calcium than non-pasteurized milk. Low fat milk makes it more difficult to absorb the calcium that’s left because fat is necessary to transport and absorb calcium. Research shows that countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Getting enough is just as important as avoiding losing what you already have:
In addition to getting enough dairy from your diet, here are some ways you can help your body to hold on to the calcium it’s got:
- Reduce intake of coffee, tea, soda, salt, and chocolate (caffeine intake causes calcium loss via urine)
- Reduce or avoid refined sugar (reduces absorption rate of calcium in the intestines)
- Reduce phosphorus intake: Meats, grains and sodas are very high in phosphorus which binds with calcium. If too much phosphorus is in your blood it will pull calcium from your bones. Consuming too much phosphorus is the same as not consuming enough dairy.
- Consume calcium with vitamin D (eggs, liver, mushrooms, the sun!)
Best diet to prevent calcium loss
- Not too much protein
- Includes good fats but not bad fats (trans fats, hydrogenated oils)
- High in complex carbs (fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, fruit in moderation)
What exactly do you need? Part 2 will explain and give examples.