You cannot turn on the television without hearing the wonderful benefits of calcium. Milk is promoted extensively by both dietitians and doctors as being the most important food for children and adults for the building and maintenance of “strong bones”. We are inundated with the miracles of this nutrient. However important, without the proper balance of calcium and other nutrients, calcium cannot perform its job of helping your bones. In fact, it may provide unseen consequences to your arteries.
What is Calcification of the Arteries?
Our bones need calcium, yet how do they know how to get into our bones? Vitamin K, as well as other biological process helps “direct” and keep the calcium in the bones. If they do not stay there, they can be released and stored in the arteries. This can lead to “hardening of the arteries”, atherosclerosis and calcification of the arteries. This, in turn, can lead to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and perhaps other diseases.
Endothelial collagen caps “attract” calcium to deposit its stores in the arteries, forming a bone like structure. This is what is meant by calcification of arteries commonly called, “hardening of the arteries”. This can be very common in some people more than others, such as the elderly and those with a poor diet and lifestyle program.
Who is at Risk for Calcification?
A poor diet can increase the chances of calcification. As mentioned previously, vitamin K helps to keep calcium out of the arteries and in the bones. Too much calcium (as promoted by conventional nutritionists and medical establishments) and very little vitamin K can increase calcification of the arteries.
Oxidative stress can also increase calcification. The standard American diet (SAD) contains an enormous amount of compounds that increase free radical production, as processed foods and conventionally raised animals have very unnatural, chemical ingredients, additives, hormones, pesticides, etc. Damage to sites in the body promote healing mechanisms to occur. Since the body is always trying to maintain an equilibrium, calcium might deposit in damaged sites in the arteries, resulting in calcification.
Eat Your Greens! (To Prevent Calcification)
Greens provide an excellent source of vitamin K to balance out your calcium intake from dairy products (hopefully raw dairy). In fact, you really don’t need dairy at all for calcium, despite what has been told to us over the years. Greens, nuts and seeds, provide a good source of calcium, balanced with the vitamin K. Plus, it’s lower in calories and filled with antioxidants and other nutrients that dairy lacks.
Although I do love raw goat milk and cheeses, especially since they are so easy to digest, I have to admit that vegetation should be the number one source for nutrients for healthy bodies. You can read more about calcium and vitamin K, and other articles I have on this blog about building healthy bones here.
My semester is finally over! That means I can spend more time here connecting with everyone who cares enough to come and be a part of The Healthy Advocate. I’m actually able to make this my full-time summer job, so yay me! I have more recipes coming, so stay tuned for them, as well as a new blog post about my experience being in a conventional Dietetics education system. Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.