We all know that calcium helps build bones and keeps our organs functioning well. This time, I invited an amazing Macrobiotic Nutritionist to tell everything about keeping this important nutrient replenished, the dos and don’ts, and so on. I have been following her on social media for a while now, and I must say her posts are very informative and useful. Her book ‘The Detox Diet ‘ is on my reading list.

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Most people may not know that calcium does more for us than just strengthening bones and teeth. It plays an important role in two periods of our lifetime – in our childhood and adulthood – especially for women in their menopausal years.

Calcium impacts many other bodily processes: blood vessels, muscles, nerves (signals), hormone function, blood clotting, blood pressure (lowering it) and protection against many cancers. Different age groups need different amounts, and this significantly increases as we age. Between the ages of 19-50, we need about 1000 mg; 1200 mg at 51 and above. Most of it, in my opinion, should be obtained from food sources. Too much of can actually be detrimental. The side effects of taking calcium supplements include, constipation, gas/bloating, kidney stones and increased risk of heart attack.

Let’s take a look at some foods and lifestyle habits that rob you off the calcium stores in your body:

  • Alcohol (excessive consumption), marijuana, cigarettes, and other intoxicants
  • Excess of animal protein and proteins in general
  • Sugar or too much of any sweetener (this does not include stevia, lakanto, brown rice syrup, date syrup, agave – however, take all in moderation)
  • Too much of coffee and soft drinks
  • Excessive amounts of salt
  • Nightshade veggies (in over-consumption): tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers
  • Dairy and dairy products (the calcium in milk is bonded to casein, and casein is not easily absorbed by the body. Only 12 per cent of calcium from dairy is actually used by the body; the rest remains un-absorbed)
  • Lack of exercise

Just remember: for calcium to assimilate, we also need other nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D.

Ever wondered from where big and strong-boned animals like cows get their calcium? It’s from grass.

Here’s how to get the right amount of calcium that your body needs –

  • Eat chlorophyll-rich foods, also rich in magnesium, such as leafy greens, whole grain and beans (pre-soak whole grain and beans to remove phytates that prevent mineral absorption)
  • Use fermented dairy, instead of usual dairy (kefir)
  • Sit out in the morning sun, and get your daily dose of Vitamin D
  • Include sea vegetables in your diet
  • Exercise, exercise and exercise more!

Here’s a simple recipe that you can include on a daily-basis (just 2 teaspoons a day for the recommended daily dose of calcium).

Gomashio

What is Gomashio? It’s the combination of oil and minerals from salt, that helps your blood condition stay more alkaline, and even gives you the calcium you require.

Ingredients

  • 8 level tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt

Method

  • Wash the sesame seeds in a strainer and allow water to drain
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds on medium flame
  • Transfer sea salt into a bowl in which you can pound them with your hand (use a hand pounding grinder and not a mixer)
  • The seeds will start to pop and produce an aroma (keep stirring with a wooden spatula till this stage)
  • Add seeds to the grinder bowl. Start to pound, mix and grin in a steady circular motion until 80 to 85% done

Store in a glass jar and sprinkle on food.

Shonali Sabherwal is a Macrobiotic Nutritionist (based out of Mumbai-India). She consults for lifestyle diseases (focus on gut-health, autoimmune and cancer) all over the World. She is the author of: The Beauty Diet (2012), The Love Diet (2016) The Detox Diet (2017) by Penguin Random House. You can find her on: www.soulfoodshonali.com. Instagram:@soulfoodshonali. Facebook: ShonaliSabherwalSoulFood. Twitter: Sh_oulfood