Most people know calcium is needed for building strong bones, but although the vast majority of this mineral is stored in your bones and teeth, it is also used by the body for other processes as well. It plays a role in muscle contraction, blood clotting and cell membrane function and helps regulate the activity of enzymes, and if your body does not have enough available calcium, it can wreak havoc with your health. It is now known that calcium is so important to our health and our body’s ability to function well that if we don’t have enough of it in our system, our body will begin to use up available stores from our bones.
Recently we made a post about raw cows milk, and one of the best food sources of calcium is from raw milk. Unfortunately the process of pasteurisation renders much of the calcium contained in milk insoluble. Good plant sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds and almonds. This is not a comprehensive list, rather some of my favourites.
Calcium from food sources is more easily absorbed than through taking supplements – and a lot more enjoyable! Vitamin D helps the body to retain and store calcium, and many foods which are natural sources of calcium also contain vitamin D - not surprising considering the wisdom of nature! Good quality unprocessed (grey, moist) sea salt contains up to 92 different minerals and should be used to increase mineral intake in its most natural form. (More about good quality salt in a future blog post).
Stretching and weight bearing exercises helps to set calcium in the bones. A recent study, conducted by Professor Steven A. Hawkins and faculty yoga teacher Bee Beckman of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at California State University conducted a study of women and discovered that:
- Yoga increases bone density of the spine
- Stress adversely affects bone density
- Yoga practice lessens the effects of stress
Stress, not surprisingly, adversely affects bone density. Overdoing aerobic activity leads to decreased body fat and increases the likelihood of osteoporosis. Living a stressful lifestyle full of adrenaline rushes can also contribute to calcium loss. A consistent yoga practice, which includes weight-bearing and restorative postures, relaxation and meditation helps lessen the effects of stress and restores balance thus helping to prevent calcium loss from bones.
Consult your Chiropractic Life Chiropractor at 88 Portland Road, Hove BN3 5DL Phone 01273 208188