The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vinegar Helps Calcium Absorption

If you're going to drop dairy from your diet you need to make doubly sure you find ways to get the nutrients that dairy is famously has in abundance. Calcium is high on that list. Vegans are always quick to insist that you can get your calcium from green, leafy vegetables which are rich in calcium content. The latter high of that statement is true but the first half is more problematical.

Green, leafy vegetables contains chemicals called oxalates than bind the calcium in them, making the calcium unavailable for digestion. The calcium has low bioavailability, to put it another way.

About.com is a good source of information on oxalates.

Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. In chemical terms, oxalates belong to a group of molecules called organic acids, and are routinely made by plants, animals, and humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates. In addition to the oxalates that are made inside of our body, oxalates can arrive at our body from the outside, from certain foods that contain them.

Foods that contain oxalates

The following are some examples of the most common sources of oxalates, arranged by food group. It is important to note that the leaves of a plant almost always contain higher oxalate levels than the roots, stems, and stalks.

Vegetables
spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa are among the most oxalate-dense vegetables
celery, green beans, rutabagas, and summer squash would be considered moderately dense in oxalates

So what is a dairy avoider to do?

Katie Alfieri, Rochester Wellness Examiner, blogged on Examiner.com that vinegar is the solution.
Dark, leafy greens are good sources of calcium, but some of these greens also contain compounds that inhibit calcium absorption. Adding a tablespoon of vinegar (either balsamic, apple cider or red wine) and 2 tablespoons of oil to your greens will allow you to absorb the calcium. This is especially beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant.

I always doublecheck information from Examiner.com, but in this case it's absolutely correct. The acetic acid in vinegar increases absorption of many important minerals. The oil is not strictly necessary but a vinaigrette is undoubtedly tastier for most folks. If taste is secondary you can even take a spoonful of vinegar with a glass of water before meals.

By the way, notice how many names of chemicals have littered this post. Beware anyone who talks about "chemicals" as some nasty, artificial creation to be avoided. Everything is a chemical and that means everything we eat is naturally no more than a huge mess o' chemicals. Without chemicals you would die instantly. Mostly because your body would simply disappear. Don't disparage chemicals. Celebrate them. It's our modern knowledge of chemicals that made the entire modern world of civilization possible. Every medication, natural, artificial, synthesized, or other is a chemical as well. Chemicals make you feel full, happy, and better. Understand them before you knock them.

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2 comments:

Food Allergy Assistant said...

Great information about vinegar helping with calcium absorption.

Thanks!

Sandra said...

Actually, a fat, be it butter or olive oil is essential in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in the dark leafy greens.