Providing Calcium without Dairy with Julia O’Loughlin

More and more children are developing allergies and sensitivities to dairy causing concern among parents that their children will have trouble receiving enough dietary calcium. Indeed, the quantity of calcium in dairy products is high, but the quality is questionable. How much calcium do we really absorb from milk? Not as much as most people think. Remember, we are what we absorb, not what we eat! Thankfully, there are many foods which, though contain a lower quantity of calcium, have calcium that is much more available to the body. These foods include:

  • Beans and nuts (particularly almonds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts)
  • Greens, especially broccoli, collards, chard, kale, parsley, watercress, spinach, and dandelion greens.
  • Okra
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Soup made from a bone broth (be sure to add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to draw the calcium out of bones to make it available in the broth)
  • Seaweeds (particularly Wakame, Kombu and Hiziki)

For kids with dairy sensitivities or signs that an allergy is in a beginning stage, consider switching to goat’s milk dairy products. Goat’s milk is much closer to mother’s milk and has a significantly smaller chain of lactose then cow’s milk, making it easier for the body to breakdown, absorb and assimilate.

In addition to eating food sources with bioavailable calcium, it is also important to limit foods that negatively affect calcium balance in the body. These include:

  • Concentrated sugars (including honey)
  • Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers)
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Vinegar (except apple cider vinegar)



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