Tracking my nutrient intake, I have noticed that I am consistantly low on my daily calcium intake. According to the RDA, I should be getting 1000mg per day. I am finding that hard to do on a consistant basis. Many of the foods high in calcium are not paleo, especially if you limit or eliminate diary. Many of the other foods supposedly 'high' in calcium only have about 10% of the RDA which means I would have to eat 10 servings per day. I have not been able to find info on how much calcium is produced by cooking bones or eating small fish bones (such as in canned salmon), but I am unlikely to do that every day anyway. HOwever, if I found that the bone boiling resulted in very high levels of calcium, at least my overall calcium intake on bone eating days might help counterbalance lower intake days. So how are other paleo eaters managing to stuff down enough calcium to meet the RDA? I'd prefer not to supplement if reasonably possible. I prefer to eat whole foods intead of pills.
Foods highest in Calcium @ Nutrition Data
Spices, cheese, milk and all sorts of dried stuff make most of the first 206 foods.
The first meat product is "Beef, variety meats and by-products, mechanically separated beef, raw" with 485mg of calcium per 100g.
I can't seem to find any food that would be viable (meaning that you don't have to eat more than a pound of it) for the whole RDA. Fish mostly has 200 - 250 mg, almonds 250 mg, ...
All I can think of are supplements or diary.
As long as you don't eat grains or soy, which contain phytin acid, you must not worry about your calcium intake. Meats, fish, eggs and leafy greens should provide enough minerals...
The recomendet 1000 mg are only neccesary, when the phytin acid binds the calcium in your guts.
All hunter-gatherer had strong bones and teeth without any suplementation.
But drinking bone broth is an exelent idea anyway. In my family feeding bone broth to litte children has a long tradition and is said to make strong bone.
Recently a friend sent me the following link with a study: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/341/jul29_1/c3691
"Conclusions Calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. As calcium supplements are widely used these modest increases in risk of cardiovascular disease might translate into a large burden of disease in the population. A reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in the management of osteoporosis is warranted."
Which means we should definitely stay away from calcium supplements.
a lot of micro-elements and vitamins work only if combined with others or in particular environment. Also to consider - it might be that we do not need to take any more calcium, based on w.price: "Not only is there no nutritional benefit from refined sugar, consumption of it causes a net loss in the body's essential minerals. To process sugar the body must use calcium. If there is none available in the diet, the body's cells will take it from your teeth and bones. Cavities do not appear in the teeth merely because sugar comes into contact with them. They occur because your body, in order to digest refined sugar, must borrow calcium from your teeth and bones whenever your calcium intake is lower than what is required to process the sugar. Deficiency is generally our condition. We consume so much refined sugar per person on average that it would be virtually impossible to ingest enough calcium to make up the difference. Rates of osteoporosis and dental problems in the U.S. and elsewhere tend to confirm this." For example people in Okinawa, known for their long lives and virtually no osteoporosis or breast cancer have 10x lower levels of calcium than Americans. their diet has limited grains (other than rice), almost no sugar, and no dairy whatsoever.
Which means, that as long as we stay on paleo way of eating, we do not need the huge amount of calcium that are suggested for people who eat SAD. We use all we eat, we don't lose it.
btw - sardines are very rich in calcium.
Throw the RDA out the window! Have any gov't recommendations led you to a healthier diet thus far?
Use bone broth in other meals as the cooking liquid, etc. cook a little down w/spices and use it as gravy. Dairy has, and always will be, paleo or not, a source of BAD, hard to digest, calcium. Dietary misconception #1. Animal flesh, bone broth, plenty of fats for absorption/digestion, and green leafy vegs will get you ALL that you need and more. Not to mention balancing out that much focused on calcium w/the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals REALLY needed for health and strength.
If you are worried ab/mineral intake, also do herbal infusions. Nettle, red clover, and oatstraw are incredibly mineral rich and easy to digest. Nettles can also be cooked like greens if you get them fresh, and red clover makes a yummy salad addition.
These are FOOD, not supplements.
Here's something else for you to chew on, Eva. Sort of in line with Andrew's and Kikilula's answers, and also addresses Offca's answer and the discussion therein:
From Dr. Davis's blog. The thought is that if you have nice high vitamin D levels then calcium supplementation can actually be harmful.
WHile I agree that the RDA can't always be trusted, on the flip side, RDAs are often low, not high. And while I agree that there is certainly a chance that we don't need as much calcium as the RDA, I'd like to see some scientific evidence before I make such an assumption. I have often heard the vegans saying they don't need to meet all the RDAs because they are eating healthy and don't need as much. But if I am not going to take that excuse from them without evidence, then I think I need to hold myself to the same standards. Besides, I easily meet most of the RDAs. Calcium is the main one that seems tricky.
Also, paleo man may well have processed lots of bones and consumed parts of them. Evidence suggests bones of food animals were broken open for marrow. Perhaps some of the bone may also have been eaten? PLus of course, bones were likely boiled often. I see that 4 bone meal tablets would almost meet the calcium RDA (taken from here http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2603/is_0002/ai_2603000218/:
"Bonemeal tablets are available from health food stores. A typical dose of four tablets per day would commonly contain the following nutrients:
calcium: 880 mg
phosphorus: 400 mg
iron: 1.8 mg
natural vitamin A : 4,000 units
natural vitamin D: 400 units
red bone marrow: 15 mg"
I am not sure how big these bone meal tablets are so dosage will need to be determined. I can check some tablets at the health food store for an idea. The website also says low quality sources might be high in lead. It occurs to me, maybe I could pressure cook some healthy grass fed bones and then crush them up as a more natural supplement. Then I would know exactly what was in the supplement. The dog and the cat might do well with a bit of bone as well. Maybe there is a very good reason why dogs love to chew on bones other than just for fun! Cats tend to consume entire mice so they would not need to chew as they would be ingesting directly. What did humans do? Too bad we can't go back in time and spy on them!
[Edited to add: Plus look, a nice little dose of natural vitamin D as well to help supplement my sun bathing!]
I second the suggestion to drink bone broths if you're worried about calcium and other minerals. Even if you're already getting enough calcium, bone broths are beneficial in a lot of other ways. This post from Mark's Daily Apple sums it all up pretty nicely.
Yes, I have noticed this too - calcium, magnesium and potassium are hard to get enough of. I can't help feeling that if the vitamin D levels are kept up and the acid alkali balance is kept not severely acid (lots of veg and fruit) the need for calcium is probably reduced. Don't forget, the RDA's are designed for people eating the CW "SAD" diet which must be massively biased towards acid forming foods.
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