From advertisements and banners to textbooks, we have been constantly told that having milk and dairy products is good for our bones. However, research has shown otherwise. 

Calcium is an essential mineral that is required for our growth and development. Since our body cannot produce it, we must get it from our diet. There are many plant-based sources of calcium, which are healthier and better for us. 

Here are some common myths about calcium. Let us debunk these and learn the truth. 

  1. Meat and milk make our bones stronger:

According to research, a high-protein diet, including milk and meat, is associated with lower absorption of calcium, which can result in low bone density and even cause osteoporosis. This shows that dairy products do not necessarily help in increasing our body’s calcium levels. 

A study conducted in more than 77000 women over 12 years showed that even those who drank milk were affected by bone fractures or osteoporosis. Many other studies have shown that those who consumed dairy products for calcium were at a higher risk of fractures than those who did not.

  1. More calcium is better for our body:

Our body requires 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium for optimal health. A high-calcium diet, with animal products and additional calcium supplementation, can increase the risk of kidney stones. Too much calcium can prevent iron and zinc from being used up by the body, resulting in gastrointestinal and muscle-related problems. Excess calcium intake can also result in the accumulation of calcium in blood vessels. This can form plaques and increase the risk of cardiac problems.

  1. Milk is the best source of calcium:

About 65% of the global population is already lactose intolerant, which means that dairy and dairy products are not good for their health. Apart from this, excess milk consumption has been associated with high blood acid levels, which can result in calcium leaching from the bones and weakening them. 

There are many plant-based sources of calcium, especially for those who have lactose intolerance or milk allergy. One cup of dairy milk contains 300 mg of calcium. However, fortified tofu contains over 850 mg of calcium per cup.

Foods rich in calcium

Naturally available fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are not only rich in calcium but extremely nutritious. The following foods are a great replacement instead of milk and meat for our daily dose of calcium. 

  • Nuts like almonds
  • Beans 
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and okra
  • Root vegetables like sweet potato
  • Seeds like chia, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds
  • Dried fruit like figs, prunes, apricots, and raisins
  • Green leafy vegetables like bok choy and kale
  • Oranges
  • Soybeans and soy products like tofu
  • Foods fortified with calcium like cereals, plant-based milks, juice, and soy products. 

Going plant-based
With these myths debunked, we know that animal products are not as good for the body as we are told. Plus, there are so many different plant-based alternatives for our daily calcium intake. So make an informed decision and choose environmentally friendly, animal-cruelty-free replacements for a healthy, safe, and compassionate lifestyle.