Calcium Needs

Consuming calcium without magnesium, Vitamin K and Vitamin D are at best ineffective and possibly dangerous. I work with many young athletes who want to get plenty of calcium. They can drink gallons of milk and ice cream. They also eat cheese and yogurt, all coming from a cow. Cow products are aggravators of acne. Removing them, or at least reducing their consumption, can really help to clear their skin. There are other sources of calcium that will not aggravate your acne. Read on.

Food Sources of Calcium

Dairy is the most common food source of calcium but by no means the only food source or even the best food source.

There are many nutritious and dairy-free foods that are an excellent source of calcium. Some great real-food budget-friendly options for getting enough calcium are:

Bone Broth

Bone broth is an excellent source of calcium and many other minerals. Here is my tutorial on a budget-friendly and simple way to make bone broth and consume it daily. Broth also contains the amino acids proline and glycine which are important for digestion, skin health, nervous system health and wound healing. They are needed for the production of glutathione, which plays a protective role in the body.

Broth can be made from chicken, beef, lamb, bison or even fish bones for just pennies a cup and is a great way to add calcium to the diet. Boiling and simmering the bones over long periods of time allows the calcium and other minerals to dissolve in the water.

“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”

Even a tiny amount of calcium from bones is easily absorbed, making broth one of the best sources of calcium.

Fish with Bones

Fish with bones are an excellent source of calcium. An easy and inexpensive way to consume fish with bones is in the form of canned fish like salmon (with bones) and sardines (with bones). The bones become soft during the canning process so they can be easily chewed and consumed with the fish.

I know, I know… you might have just wrinkled your nose in disgust at the thought of sardines, but as Diane of Balanced Bites so perfectly put it:

“Y’all need to put your big boy or girl pants on, get a tin of wild sardines, grab some sea salt and lemon or hot sauce, and DIG IN.”

One six-ounce serving of canned wild salmon has over 110 milligrams of absorbable calcium and canned sardines rank about the same (or higher). Since these foods are also a good source of Vitamin D, they enhance digestion of the calcium and make it more usable.

Dark, Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are another great dietary source of calcium, though some are better than others. Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Bok Choy, Kale and Broccoli all ranked really well for being absorbable sources of calcium while spinach and seaweed ranked low on the list.

Dark leafy greens are also great sources of folate, Vitamins A, C, E and K and B-vitamins. Jonathan Bailor, the author of The Calorie Myth, is fond of saying that if you make no other changes in your diet, you will see positive results just from adding a few extra servings of green leafy vegetables a day.

Other Foods

There are many other food sources of calcium including:

  • Figs
  • Beans (if tolerated)
  • blackstrap molasses
  • Almonds
  • Sesame Seeds

Eating probiotic-rich foods (like sauerkraut, water kefir, kimchee, etc) will help the body digest all foods and assimilate more nutrients. Optimizing Vitamin D levels will also help the body use calcium more efficiently and improve digestion.

How To Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The bottom line is that those who for health or personal reasons choose not to consume dairy can absolutely get enough calcium. In many cases, non-dairy food sources of calcium can be healthier since they are also sources of other vitamins and minerals.

Those (like me) who don’t consume dairy should be conscious of the need for real food sources of calcium and make an effort to include foods like broth, fish with bones, green leafy vegetables and other healthy sources of fats, protein and vegetables as part of a varied diet.

The balance of the article comes from the wisdom of another Acne Specialist.

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