Calcium is a very important mineral that the body needs in order to build and maintain bone mass. However, in order to get all of the benefits from calcium, you need to make sure you consume enough vitamin D as well.Vitamin D helps the body absorb both calcium and phosphorus, both of which are minerals that are important for bone health.
Dairy rich foods are an integral part of a healthy diet. As a whole, these types of foods off er a lot of nutritional benefits for the body:
– build and repair skin, muscle, and nerve tissue
– build and maintain bone strength
– help maintain a healthy blood pressure
– help fight infection
In order to get these benefits, you should be consuming 3 cups of dairy rich foods on a daily basis. This does not mean you have to drink milk to get your calcium, though. These foods also count as calcium rich foods (the foods below count as 1 cup)
– 1 cup milk or yogurt
– 1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
– 1 1/2 ounces natural or hard cheese
– 2 ounces processed cheese
– 2 cups cottage cheese
Can’t drink milk?
Some people cannot drink milk because of lactose intolerance. Lactose is the sugar that is found in milk and foods made with milk. People with lactose intolerance cannot properly digest lactose which in turn can cause all kinds of unpleasant side effects like gas and bloating. Some people can handle small amounts of lactose rich foods while others have to avoid them completely. This does not give people with this disease a free pass, however. They still need to get the nutrients from these foods. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, try these tips:
– Learn your level: start with small amounts of foods that contain lactose. Increase the amount you eat over time. Notice how your body responds. It may help to write down your body’s responses so you remember them for future reference.
– Combine Foods: Eat lactose containing foods with other foods, rather than by themselves.
– Eat small amounts of lactose foods: drink 1/2 or 1/3 cup of milk throughout the day, rather than 1 cup at a time
– Choose low lactose foods: choose calcium rich foods that are naturally lower in lactose, such as hard cheeses
– Reduce it: look for lactose-free or lactose-reduced foods
– Enjoy other foods that contain calcium: Milk is not the only food that contains calcium. Tofu, broccoli, beans, collards, or calcium-fortified soy milk or juice are also calcium rich foods.
As mentioned above, milk is not the only food that contains calcium. Adults aged 19-50 need about 1,000 mg of calcium each day where adults over 50 need about 1200 mg of calcium a day. There are many other foods out there than can help you meed this daily need:
1 cup of yogurt = 300 mg calcium, the same as an 8 ounce glass of milk
1 1/2 ounces of cheese = 300 mg calcium, the same as an 8 ounce glass of milk
1 cup of calcium fortified OJ = 300 mg calcium, the same as an 8 ounce glass of milk
5 ounces of canned salmon = 300 mg calcium, the same as an 8 ounce glass of milk
The list below also outlines other foods that contain calcium plus the amounts of calcium that they contain:
calcium fortified soymilk (1 cup) = 300 mg calcium
calcium fortified OJ (1 cup) = 300 mg calcium
sardines with bones (3 ounces) = 325 mg calcium
calcium fortified dry cereal (1 ounce) = 200-300 mg calcium
collards, cooked (1 cup) = 266 mg calcium
spinach (1 cup) = 291 mg calcium
salmon with bones (3 ounces) = 180 mg calcium
blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp) = 172 mg calcium
turnip greens, cooked (1/2 cup) = 124 mg calcium
tofu with calcium (3 ounces) = 30-100 mg calcium
kale, cooked (1/2 cup) = 90 mg calcium
almonds (1 ounce) = 72 mg calcium
broccoli, cooked (1 cup) = 71 mg calcium
shrimp (3 ounces) = 45 mg calcium