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kim@glutenfreeislife.com

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    Stop the Madness!!!

    Okay, seriously, I can’t take conflicting information. Why? Because then I have to make my own decision. I have to weigh options – risks and benefits. It really stresses me out. I heard a blip on the news today that said something along the lines of calcium supplements raising the risk of heart attack. WHAT?!? Excuse me, but wasn’t calcium supposed to be good for you? I knew that I had to find out more about this and fairly quickly, as I have recently begun taking calcium supplements to help strengthen my bones.

    I googled (yes, I know, not always the best option, but I will only trust reputable sites) and found this article on Fox News and this one on ABC News. I want to add that when I say “trust”, I mean put more faith in than another less reputable site or one I have not heard of.

    The Fox News site says that the risk is increased by 30 percent in those that took calcium supplements. In a study of 12,000 elderly patients over 4 years, half took calcium and half took a placebo. The study showed a 30% increase in heart attacks in the patients who took the calcium. This article made no mention of vitamin D being taken along with the calcium supplements, but advised patients to consult their doctors and to try go get calcium in their diets naturally instead of via supplement.

    The ABC News site gave me a little reassurance that I should, indeed, continue to take my calcium supplements. The article says the studies of those with or at increased risk for osteoporosis (read: older women) who took calcium supplements were at an increased risk for heart attack. It goes on to say that since calcium supplements are widely used, the increase may not be a result of the calcium supplements, but other factors. There was no link found in those who took vitamin D along with the calcium.

    Hmmmmm….. Osteoporosis runs in my family. My grandmother has it (mom’s mom) and my mom & sister both have osteopenia (sis is 35). Having Celiac Disease, family history and now the stress fracture puts me at an increased risk. Taking calcium supplements or getting an ample amount in my diet is imperative. Currently I take 1000mg calcium and 4000IU vitamin D/day. I had a DEXA scan in 2006 that was normal. I just had it repeated this week (due to my stress fracture) and it was normal. Phew! I am okay for now, but here is where the complication lies….I don’t drink milk. I am lactose intolerant and while I can tolerate some dairy (ice cream, cheese & yogurt) with Lactaid on occasion, drinking a glass of milk kills me. Even daily consumption of yogurt starts to be too much after a few days. I do drink almond milk on occasion (I use it in my coffee daily) and it has calcium and vitamin D in it. I don’t see myself drinking enough of that to get my RDA, though. I did some more googling and found this information from Health Diaries.com:

    Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to drink your milk in order to get your calcium.

    The government recommendation for adults ages 19-50 is 1000 mg of calcium per day. One cup of milk has 296 mg, but there are plenty of reasons you might not to drink milk, from personal preference to medical reasons.

    Here are 15 foods high in calcium that don’t come from a cow:

    Sesame Seeds (can’t eat these – might as well eat gluten)
    A quarter cup of sesame seeds has 351 mg calcium.

    Spinach
    A cup of boiled spinach has 245 mg.

    Collard Greens
    A cup of boiled collard greens has 266 mg.

    Blackstrap Molasses
    One tablespoon has about 137 mg.

    Kelp
    One cup of raw kelp has 136 mg.

    Tahini (again, sesame seeds, off limits)
    Two tablespoons of raw tahini (sesame seed butter) have 126 mg.

    Broccoli
    Two cups of boiled broccoli have 124 mg.

    Swiss Chard
    One cup of boiled chard has 102 mg.

    Kale
    One cup of boiled kale has 94 mg.

    Brazil Nuts
    Two ounces of Brazil nuts (12 nuts) have 90 mg.

    Celery
    Two cups of raw celery have 81 mg.

    Almonds
    One ounce of almonds (23 nuts) has 75 mg.

    Papaya (Ick – have you tasted papaya?)
    One medium papaya has 73 mg.

    Flax Seeds
    Two tablespoons of flax seeds have 52 mg.

    Oranges
    One medium orange has 52 mg.

    Looks like I will be making smoothies out of molasses, kale & flax seeds from here on out. ;) Seriously, I am going to keep track my intake for a few days and see how much I get without trying to add any extra. Then I can see where my diet may need some adjustment. I know of one staple I eat daily that has calcium – almond butter! If choosing a nut butter, almond has more than peanut. Twist my arm, I could use as many reasons as possible to eat more almond butter. Now, if only red wine was as good of a source of calcium as it is antioxidants.

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