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The bioavailability of calcium and magnesium from foods varies from food source to food source. While foods such as grains and legumes are often touted as being high in minerals like calcium and magnesium, the minerals in these foods is tightly bound to compounds called phytates that actually inhibit absorption. Grains and legumes can be problematic for many additional reasons and many people will experience greater health benefits by avoiding them in general. Certain leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, contain oxalates that also bind minerals. To maximize absorption of calcium and magnesium from these foods, favor cooked leafy green vegetables and soak nuts and seeds for 8 hours with a little sea salt prior to eating (they can then be dried in a dehydrator or low oven if you wish). The best plan to maximize intake of calcium and magnesium from your diet is to consume a wide variety of foods daily.
HERBS: Many herbs are excellent sources of calcium/magnesium: nettle, watercress, parsley, oatstraw, horsetail, seaweed, and yellow dock
The herbalist Susan Weed in her book New Menopausal Ways, The Wise Woman Way recommends one ounce nettles, one tablespoon horsetail (shave grass), and one tablespoon sage. To make this nourishing herbal infusion, crush the sage between palms and drop into a quart container with the other two herbs. Pour one quart boiling water over the herbs, covering it tightly, and letting it brew for four hours or more (overnight will work)., In the morning, strain out the mineral-rich liquid and drink it over ice or heated, or any other way you enjoy it. Each cup of this infusion not only contains approximately as much calcium as a cup of milk, but also many of the other partners to this important bone mineral.
 Weed, Susan. New Menopausal Ways, The Wise Woman Way. Aus Tree Publishing. 2001
 Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside, New York. 1993.
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