A diet that is rich in calcium is of first importance in combating tuberculosis. The tubercle bacilli carry on their destructive work on the lung tissue as a result of lowered vitality. When the bacilli attack the tissues, the white blood corpuscles, called the soldiers of the body, surround them by way of counter-attack. If the body’s reserves are built up to normal, these little warriors are able to destroy the bacilli or to keep them at bay.
The various organic mineral constituents found in fresh foods are absolutely necessary to the building up of the white corpuscles. Calcium is a great building factor, especially in tuberculosis, for the reason that as the white corpuscles attack the bacilli, the body makes use of the calcium in building a wall around them to imprison them, and thus prevent further destruction of tissue, and gradually the wound becomes calcified and apparently healed.
In performing post mortem examinations, surgeons often discover that a lung of the deceased had at some previous time been half consumed by disease, and then “plugged up,” “walled in,” or healed, so satisfactorily that the individual was enabled to live in apparent health for a number of years. Thrusting his scalpel into the calcified wall of the wound, the surgeon observes a mass of tissue of granular appearance, which he will tell you is “calcified tissue,” or “tubercles.” Hence the need of providing the body with a quality of food that contains suitable building material for the all-round wear and repair of the living machine.
Calcium, moreover, is the chief constituent in the development of the bones and teeth. It is essential to the coagulation of the blood, and to normal action of the heart muscle, Prfessor Sherman says : “The calcium requirements of women are greatly increased by maternity. The need of an abundance of calcium for the rapidly growing skeleton of an infant is obvious. Before birth, and normally for several months after, this demand of the child is satisfied through the mother, whose calcium requirement is thus greatly increased. The weakening of the bones and teeth which is said to be a common accompaniment of pregnancy and lactation is held by Bunge to be largely due to a withdrawal of calcium from these structures to meet the nutritive requirements of the embryo or nursling.” “Chemistry of Food and Nutrition,” page 264. (For a list of calcium rich foods, see page 34.)