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Photo: Dez Pain
The news is good if you don’t do much dairy but get a frequent hankering for Chinese food.

Stir-fry dishes often include staples like broccoli, bok choy, and edamame (soybeans) — popular veggies that are bursting with bone-strengthening calcium. Even better, these and other Chinese stir-fry favorites have a chemical makeup that allows your body to easily absorb the calcium. Just go easy on the soy sauce—which is essentially liquid sodium—because the more salt you take in, the more calcium you’re likely to lose.

As you’ve probably heard, other green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and Swiss chard, contain calcium, but they also contain a certain acid called oxalate, that limits how much of the calcium your body can absorb. In fact, you’d need to eat more than four spinach salads to get the amount of calcium in one made with Chinese spinach (and it’s not even a top veggie, calcium-wise). Not a Chinese-food fan? Some beans—particularly white cannellini, a staple in Italian cooking—are also a good source of calcium. But they’re the exception. Many dried beans are rich in phytate, another acid that also interferes with calcium absorption.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):543S-548S.

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Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Adventist Messenger, July 2006. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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