Get enough calcium from non dairy sources

calciumIt is well known that Calcium is essential for building healthy bones.  Milk is the richest source of calcium. I am not a big fan of milk and my mom has scolded me many times for not drinking milk than anything else.   She tried to provide me milk in different ways everyday like milk shake, banana shake, mango shake, roohafza, Lassi so that I could get vitamins, minerals and especially calcium which are needed for growing and healthy bones.  I believe that I am not the only one who doesn’t like milk; there are more people like me.  It is imperative to know that consuming sufficient amount of calcium is important because our body cannot produce it.  The best way to get your calcium is from the foods you eat to maintain adequate blood and bone calcium levels.  It is particularly important for women, especially after the menopause, as they can develop complications such as osteoporosis.

 

dairy-allergyIt doesn’t matter if you don’t like dairy or dairy products or are allergic to it, you can still get lots of calcium through calcium rich foods in your diet or through other substances that allow calcium to get absorb into your body.  Here are few tips for getting calcium and making sure your body has the required amount:

 

Vary your diet: Though milk and milk products are primary sources of calcium, but if you don’t like dairy products, you have other nondairy calcium options such as Sardiness, salmon, beans, and green leafy vegetables, tofu made with calcium, legumes and certain foods that may be fortified with calcium, such as orange juice and some soy beverages.

 

One leafy green that may not be a good source of calcium, though, is spinach. Although it has calcium, it also contains oxalic acid, which keeps you from absorbing the calcium.  You can eat spinach for other great minerals that are essential for strong and healthy bones. These include magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and most importantly, zinc. 

 

Food

Serving Size

Calcium (mg)

Yogurt, plain, nonfat

1 cup

450

Yogurt, plain, low-fat

1 cup

15

Yogurt, fruit

1 cup

315

Milk, fat-free

1 cup

300

Milk, reduced-fat

1 cup

295

Milk, whole

1 cup

290

Chocolate milk, low- or reduced-fat

1 cup

285

Calcium-fortified soy beverage

1 cup

250-300

Swiss cheese

1 oz

270

Tofu, processed with calcium sulfate

1 cup

260

Calcium-fortified orange juice

1 cup

308-344

Cheese Pizza

1/8 of 15-in pizza

220

Cheddar Cheese

1 oz

205

Salmon, canned with edible bones

3 oz

205

Mozzarella cheese, part skim

1 oz

85

Macaroni and cheese, baked

1/2 cup

180

Blackstrap molasses

1 tbsp

170

Pudding

1/2 cup

15

Frozen yogurt

1/2 cup

105

Sardines, with edible bones

1 oz

90

Ice cream

1/2 cup

85

Dried figs

3

80

Cottage cheese

1/2 cup

75

Tempeh

1/2 cup

75

Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp

70

Milk-chocolate bar

1 oz



none;">70

Orange

1 medium

50

Broccoli, raw

1/2 cup

45

Anchovies, with edible bones

5

45

Tortilla, made from lime-processed corn

1

45

Pinto beans

1/2 cup

40

Rutabaga

1/2 cup

35

Cream cheese

2 tbsp

25

Lettuce greens

1/2 cup

10

Tuna, canned

3 oz

10

Source: adapted from the American Dietetics Association’s Manual of Clinical Dietetics, 6th ed. ©2000

 

bones-with-calcium-supplementTake the best supplement for you: It’s usually better to get your vitamins and minerals naturally, but if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, take supplements. Studies show that calcium supplements are also effective at strengthening your bones.

If you are confused about which one to take, look for those with calcium citrate as the main ingredient. A recent study found that calcium citrate supplements were 2.5 times more absorbable than calcium carbonate supplements.

 

Space out your intake: Your body only absorbs about 500 mg of calcium at a time, so it’s best to get calcium-rich foods at each meal. Most calcium supplement should be taken between meals to get the most benefit.

 

Recommended intakes for Calcium developed by Food and Nutrition Board

 

Age

Male

Female

Pregnant

Lactating

Birth to 6 months

210 mg

210 mg

 

 

7-12 months

270 mg

270 mg

 

 

1-3 years

500 mg

500 mg

 

 

4-8 years

800 mg

800 mg

 

 

9-13 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

 

 

14-18 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

19-50 years

1,000 mg

1,000 mg

1,000 mg

1,000 mg

50+ years

1,200 mg

1,200 mg

 

 

 

Calcium carbonate sometimes causes side effects such as nausea, gas, and constipation, so you are better off taking that type of supplement with meals. Some experts also recommend taking supplements at night because blood calcium levels drop during the night.

saltshaker

 

Skip the salt shaker: You may love salty foods, but they are not doing any good to your bones. Sodium competes with calcium for absorption, so if you eat a lot of salt, calcium may pass through your body without being used.

 

coffeenoCut the caffeine: A cup of coffee may help get you moving in the morning, but it may be weakening your bones as well. The caffeine in one cup of coffee can increase your need for calcium by 30-50 mg for the day. So, if you have to drink that morning cup, at least make sure you add some milk.

 

calcium_supplementCheck your medication: Certain drugs can interfere the way your body absorbs calcium. For example, antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide may cause calcium loss. Ask your doctor or pharmacist, whether any medications you are talking might affect your calcium level.

 

Calcium is vital not only for healthy teeth and bones but regulates various other functions in the body including regulating the heartbeat, conducting nerve impulses, stimulating hormone secretions, clotting blood and more.  You should make sure you are getting enough calcium daily. 

 

Healthy eating! 

 

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