What most people don’t realise is that the calcium in dairy is not as bioavailable as plant-based sources (barely 35% of calcium from dairy is absorbed). Calcium absorption and deposition into the bones is also reliant on getting the right balance of nutrients and minerals, and dairy doesn’t provide the right environment. Dairy foods are quite high in phosphorous and low in magnesium which will impede calcium absorption. Some of the best calcium sources of absorbable calcium are leafy greens, parsley, almonds, sardines, sesame seeds, chia seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, seaweed, sea vegetables, pinto beans, adzuki beans, soybean and nuts. Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin C and D rich foods for the best absorption.
The best way to absorb your calcium, grow strong bones and to prevent osteoporosis is by basing your diet around fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, good quality protein, essential fatty acids, soaked, sprouted or fermented wholegrains and legumes. Lifestyle changes include getting regular outdoor exercise, enough rest, enough direct sunlight regularly on the skin (without getting burnt) and avoiding fizzy drinks and acidic refined foods. Also weight-bearing exercises and a real focus on green vegetables as the mainstay of the diet.
Avoiding caffeine, sodas, excess sodium, alcohol, and excessive animal fats and protein will help you to keep the calcium in your bones too. These foods cause acidity in the body and encourage calcium to be released from storage in your bones as calcium has an alkalising effect.