According to latest research, getting calcium from foods sources is definitely more effective that calcium supplements. In fact, studies have shown that women who get most of the calcium through dietary sources have better bone density and far healthier bones than the rest of us.
What the study revealed
The research examined the diet of 183 post-menopausal women for 7 days. Their levels of estrogen and mineral density were examined afterwards, and the results showed that the women who got 70% of their calcium intake through dietary sources had higher hip and spine bone density than those who got most of their calcium through supplements.
In general, the human body absorbs calcium from dietary sources much better than supplements. The women in the study who got calcium through food had higher estrogen levels, which is required for proper bone density and health. The relation between estrogen and calcium is not yet established, but scientists think that it’s because of the consumption of plants containing this important hormone. People who get most of their calcium through food also intake more vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium properly. The study only confirms what many people have known for a long time – the best way to add nutrients in your diet is through dietary sources instead of pills. Life would indeed be far simpler if we could satisfy our nutrient needs by popping pills in our mouth, and, while supplements are surely useful, the body absorbs vitamins and minerals best from dietary sources.
In this case, the quality of food is more important than the quantity. The best sources of calcium are organic dairy products such as milk, but dark green vegetables are also a great choice of calcium-rich food. Make sure to keep your vitamin D levels in check as well – this vitamin is highly important for calcium absorption. The best way to get more vitamin D in your body is through sun exposure, but this doesn’t mean that you should burn your skin under the sun. A couple of hours a day is more than enough to increase your vitamin D levels and prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Of course, regular exercise is important as well, and goes hand to hand with proper diet. Exercising will strengthen your bones and muscles and build a good foundation that’s surely to last for a long time. Finally, you need to add omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as well, which can be found in animal-based oils and supplements such as krill oil.
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