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Why You May Get More Calcium From Tahini Than That Glass Of Milk

The best way to get more calcium is not what you think.

Looking to get more calcium in your diet? (Who isn’t?) Here’s a fun fact: More important than the amount of calcium contained in a food is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. That is because during calcium’s digestion, phosphorus can inhibit absorption. The ideal ratio of phosphorus to calcium for humans, as stated by Dr. Frank Oski from the Upstate Medical Centre in Syracuse New York, is 1:2. And many foods contribute calcium to our bodies in an unbalanced way, namely dairy products, isolated proteins, and concentrated sugars.

Mother’s milk, as well as plant-based sources, hover around an ideal ratio of 1 : 2.3. Animal-derived sources, such as cow’s milk, are approximately 1 : 1.3. So, despite their promotion as an “excellent sources of calcium—and dairy products do contain impressive amounts—it is not guaranteed that all of it is absorbed. In Anne Marie Colbin’s book, Food and Healing, she states:

“Paradoxically, then, human beings absorb less calcium from the high-calcium cow’s milk than from lower-calcium [alternatives]. To put it another way, regarding the optimum amount of nutrients that we need, it’s not quantity that counts, but context.” (That’s on page 151, in case you were following along.)

We need to rewire our thinking when it comes to this important mineral. Our calcium-crazed society must realize that more is not necessarily better. The best sources are not those high in calcium, but rather those that are absorbable and easily assimilated based on their phosphorus to calcium ratio. Vegetables, seeds, seaweeds, and legumes should be our first choices, and, in lesser amounts, fish, meat, cheese, and milk.

Here’s how to make crunchy coleslaw with dairy-free tahini dressing.

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