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Ask the Expert Archive

Which vegetables contain calcium? Do our bodies absorb more of this calcium than the calcium in milk?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and serves several important functions for us.  The most commonly known role is that of supporting bone health.  Other lesser known roles include aiding muscle contraction, blood vessel function and nerve function

 

 

So important is this key nutrient that it was called out as one of the “nutrients of concern” in the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans because public health problems are associated with low intakes.  The good news is that if you are aware of sources, other than the obvious dairy, you will have many choices to help you keep your intake up.

 

 

The following vegetables are considered dietary sources of calcium:  spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, kale, white beans, okra, soybeans, beet greens and Chinese cabbage.

 

 

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes from the

Institute of

Medicine
, “calcium may be poorly absorbed from foods rich in oxalic acid (example: spinach and beans) and foods rich in phytic acid (example: raw beans, nuts, grains and soy isolates).  Compared with calcium absorption from milk, the absorption from dried beans is about half; from spinach its about one-tenth.”

 

 

So, help “bone-up” on your calcium with veggies and beans!  Click here for other important nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide—along with great flavor, of course!

 

 

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  1. Every 2 months, my calcium level rises from normal 8-10 to 12,13, almost 14. Medication – always in hospital reduces it to normal in a day or two.Although I am a milk lover, I have decreased my intake to zero. Now, specialists after CT’s have ordered tests – biopsies, renal and bone marrow. I am an active 88 year old white female in fairly good health. I have vertually no pain, just exteme weakness when standing or walking. I must lie down for at least half hour every 2-3 hours. Any idea or suggestions?

The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.Read Her Full Bio

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