I find many of my patients are concerned when I ask them to limit or avoid dairy - due to an intolerance showing up on the Food Detective Test, or a diagnosis of Breast Cancer, or chronic sinus, in some fertility cases etc etc

The main concern for most is of course... "where am I going to get my calcium?"

My response is always the same... "from numerous other sources with higher calcium bio-availability and usually more nutritious overall."

So let me elaborate as succinctly as I can.

Many people have issues metabolising dairy usually associated with lactose intolerance, and to a lesser extent, casein intolerance found in dairy. So if you can't break a food down properly, it's going to result in less of its nutrients being available to you for general health. While there are good levels of calcium in dairy products, there are concerns from the humanitarian aspect of dairy cows suffering as well as the research telling us that drinking more milk doesn't result in better protection from osteoporosis ( brittle bones) - Journal of Nutrition 1997;127:1782-87 and Am J Public Health 1997;87:992-97. There is also question marks over the recommended daily intake for women, men, children, and lactating women - current research is suggesting that the levels have been set too high. There's also risks involved in taking calcium- ONLY supplements in regards to heart attacks, prostate cancer, and ironically, increased risk of fractures ( Of course Vit D, Vit K2, boron, and weight bearing exercise are all essential to good bone health.

If you're looking for alternative sources of this important mineral, then consider some of the following, but remember to consult with your Naturopath if you're not sure your diet is meeting your requirements.

Vegetables: Parsley, watercress, spring onions, onions, kale, broccoli.

Keep in mind calcium in spinach is less available to the body due to some vegetables containing oxalic acid, which combines with calcium to form calcium oxalate

Grains and cereal contain phytic acid which acts similarly to oxalic acid in spinach, so better sources include:

Seeds: Unhulled sesame seeds/ tahini, linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

Nuts: Almonds, Brazil, pistachio, pecans, walnuts

Fish: Whitebait, sardines (canned), salmon (canned)

Fruits: Dried figs, lemons, rhubarb, orange juice, blackberries

Legumes: Navy beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils

Soya products: Fortified soy milk, calcium set tofu

So enjoy dairy foods if you have no issue with the animal welfare aspect (or source it from humanely produced companies), and with your ability to digest it.

But if these concern you, then there are plenty of alternatives... remember that humans are the ONLY mammals that continue drinking milk after weaning, bit weird huh?

Eat well, live well...