How to get more calcium in your diet

How to get more calcium in your diet

beyond dairy

When you think of calcium, dairy products probably come to mind first, however, there are many vegetables and fruits and calcium-fortified foods that can supply your calcium needs. The body needs calcium for strong bones, muscle and blood vessel contractions, hormones, enzymes and nerve functioning. Since you cannot manufacture calcium, it must be supplied in your diet or by supplementation. When your intake is inadequate, the body steals calcium from bones and teeth, leading to osteoporosis.


Step 1

Add milk.

Not a milk drinker? Even if you don’t drink milk, you can add milk to cream soups, hot cereal, pancakes, mashed potatoes, puddings, and fruit smoothies. Yogurt or ice cream can also be used as a base for smoothies.

Step 2

Top foods with cheese.

Salads, pasta, pizza, omelets, baked potato, enchiladas or tortillas, and soup are great sprinkled with low-fat, shredded cheese. Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses add between 130 and 180 mg of calcium per ounce of cheese. Put feta or goat cheese in your salad and gain about 140 mg. of cheese.

Step 3

Use yogurt.

Plain yogurt or pureed cottage cheese with chives or chopped green onions makes a healthy and low fat vegetable dip or potato topping.

Step 4

Enjoy calcium rich or fortified foods.

Tofu, canned salmon, sardines, rhubarb, almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts, sesame seeds, garbanzo, white and baked beans, apricots and oranges are all rich in calcium.

Calcium-fortified foods include: fortified bread, muffins and cereal, orange juice, corn or flour tortillas, soy milk and instant oatmeal.

Step 5

Think green.

Spinach, kale, turnip greens, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli all contain some calcium. By combining a serving of one of these vegetables with cheese, you can increase your intake. Not all green vegetables have beneficial levels of calcium. While beet greens and Swiss chard are high in calcium, they also contain oxalate which binds the calcium so that it cannot be absorbed in the body.

Things Needed
• Daily calcium needs:
• Birth — 6 months: 210 mg
• 6 to 12 months: 270 mg
• 1 to 3 years: 500 mg
• 4 to 8 years: 800 mg
• 9 to 18 years: 1300 mg
• 19 to 50 years: 1000 mg
• 50 years and older: 1200 mg

Tips & Warnings
• If you are two years of age or older, you need 2-3 servings of dairy products daily.
• A serving consists of: 8 ounces of milk, 8 ounces of yogurt or 1.5 to 2 ounces of cheese.
• Calcium is especially important for children whose bones are growing and for people over age 35 whose bones are beginning to lose calcium.
• 1 out of every 3 women over age 50 will suffer a fracture because of osteoporosis.


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