Calcium is present in the largest amount of any mineral in our bodies and therefore it is extremely important that we maintain our calcium stores through diet and supplementation. Calcium serves many important functions in the body from the more well known function of growing and maintaining bone strength to the lesser known functions of preventing high blood pressure and protecting against certain forms of cancer. Calcium is especially important to women in every phase of the life cycle. Increasing calcium intake is vital to women who are pregnant and even those thinking about getting pregnant in order to meet pregnancy's additional calcium demands to support fetal development. A lack of calcium during pregnancy can contribute to a lifelong calcium deficiency since the body will actually leech calcium from the mother to support the development of the baby in the first of many selfless acts of motherhood. Studies have shown that many women are never able to recover from this, putting them at a higher risk for osteoporosis as they age. Supplementation is also extremely important for post menopausal women who risk calcium deficiency due to the fact that decreases in estrogen can cause calcium imbalance in the body causing bone to be broken down at a rate too quickly for the body to repair it.
So we've established that calcium is much needed but where are the best places to get it if the idea of a milk mustache makes your stomach turn? You might be surprised that some of the best sources of calcium are actually dairy free. The most bioavailable source of calcium is actually pearl powder made from, you guessed it, ground up fresh water pearls. Pearl powder can either be ingested or used topically to unlock its calcium and collagen boosting benefits. More on one of my favorite face masks using pearl powder very soon! Dark leafy greens including kale, spinach, and collards are also extremely rich in calcium and perfect for juices, smoothies, and salads. Sardines, or any fish packed with their bones, are actually one of the most calcium dense foods available and are a great low mercury alternative to tuna. White beans and black eyed peas are both great calcium sources as are sesame seeds so combining these in hummus would make for a wonderful, calcium rich snack. Vitamin D is also very important to calcium absorption because it helps with the active transport of calcium to where its needed in the body so make sure to either get your 15 minutes of sunlight daily or to supplement for optimal absorption.