More Love for Veggie Calcium

For a long time I thought the only place you could get calcium was milk and since I’m lactose intolerant, well, I thought I was screwed. So I panicked, I used to take calcium supplements the size of horse pills. Sometimes I still have flashbacks that I’m grazing in a meadow, odd.

But now, even though I avoid dairy products like the plague, I’m not worried about my calcium. Why? I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Greens like kale and romaine lettuce, not to mention hearty portions of sesame seeds; both of which Dr. Fuhrman considers great sources of calcium.

In fact, in a previous post he explains that vegetable calcium is absorbed better than animal calcium. From Choose Vegetable Calcium Over Animal Calcium:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine.
So if you’re system kicks back dairy like mine, here’s a thought, hit the produce isle with a vengeance! And it seems, this idea if being put to the test. The Los Angeles Times reports nutrition scientists are feeding older women with osteoporosis prunes in hopes that it will yield measurable restoration in their bone mass. Susan Bowerman explains:
Although that study was too brief to measure changes in bone density — something the new study will allow — the women who ate 10 dried plums daily had significantly higher blood levels of two compounds (the hormone IGF-1 and the enzyme BSAP) that are associated with greater rates of bone formation.

What do prunes offer that other dried fruits don't? Various substances, and scientists don't yet know which among them is most important. Prunes contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium — both bone-building minerals — and some natural acids that could improve mineral absorption.

They are a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols, which also could be bone protective. They're also rich in boron, a bone-building mineral that is often lacking in the diet. (Boron prevents excretion of calcium and magnesium, which allows these minerals to be deposited in bone tissue.)
It is kind of funny that prunes, a food already associated with old people, are good for them for a reason outside of, “Prunes, prunes, a wonderful fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel, so eat some prunes at every meal!” And yes, I know that song is really about beans, but it works!

For a couple charts on the calcium content of fruits and vegetables, check out these posts:
And here’s another interesting tidbit about fruits and veggies. Did you know that some vegetables have a more protein per calorie than meat? Oh I’m not making it up! Dr. Fuhrman explains Vegetables Deliver Protein with Micronutrients:
It is interesting to note that peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat. But what is not generally considered is that foods that are rich in plant protein are generally the foods that are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low calorie foods we get plenty of protein, and our bodies get flooded with protective micronutrients simultaneously. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants and phtyochemicals, plant protein does. Plus, animal protein is married to saturated fat, the most dangerous type of fat.
As we saw yesterday in Michael Pollan’s article about nutritionism, the stuff that lurks in plants might be the best dietary recommendation of them all. Hey, maybe this Dr. Fuhrman guy is onto something. You think?
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