Dairy is not the only source of calcium, nor is it the best. Huge numbers of people across the world can’t digest dairy and still get plenty of calcium. Three quarters of the world’s population don’t consume cow’s milk or dairy products at all. Contrary to popular belief, many non-dairy foods contain calcium, while (pasteurized, homogenised) milk actually has a relatively low amount. Children and calcium: A major review of recent scientific studies on calcium and bone health was published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005. It shatters the misleading notion that children need cow’s milk for good bone health. This review examined the effects of dairy products and total dietary calcium on bone health in children and young adults and found that dairy products are NOT needed for strong bones. The consumption of too many acid producing foods such as dairy, eggs, poultry, meat, fish grains, legumes, sugar, coffee and carbonated soft drinks decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients. Furthermore, in an attempt to neutralise the acid, the body leaches calcium from its bones. Worth mentioning is that absorption of calcium (and magnesium) is also interfered by sugar intake. (alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts). Research suggests that physical exercise is the most critical factor for maintaining healthy bones, followed by improving diet and lifestyle (getting enough sunlight). For dairy-free sources of calcium please see under Calcium. Dairy-Free sources for calcium include: Nuts such as Almonds, Brazils, Hazelnuts, Pistachio. Almonds contain more calcium than any other nut, and they are also good sources of fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and protein. Use Almond butter instead of peanut butter Enriched Ricemilk, Soymilk and Oatmilk, many replacement dairy products are enriched with calcium and other minerals. Use calcium-fortified non-dairy milk (like soy, oat or rice milk) instead of water in recipes such as pancakes, mashed potatoes, pudding and oatmeal. Blackstrap Molasses (the darkest grade syrup) contains many minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium. Stir a drizzle of blackstrap molasses into your oatmeal. Fruits dried figs, currants, lemons (esp lemon peel!), oranges). Figs supply almost 100 milligrams in just 4 figs, also high in iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Vegetables: Dark leafy greens are excellent sources of calcium:kale, mustard greens, spinach, pack choy, watercress, lambsletters etc. also found in parsnips, swede, turnips and olives. Kale contains more calcium per ounce than milk! (Spinach though has high amounts of oxalic acid which can inhibit the body’s ability to assimilate the calcium, so it should not be eaten as a main calcium source all of the time. To increase the body’s ability to absorb the many nutrients found in spinach, adding foods high in vitamin C helps to cancel out the effect of oxalic acid.) Broccoli is high in calcium as well as iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and E, this cruciferous vegetable is one nutritional powerhouse! Add steamed and minced greens like collards and kale to casseroles, soups and stews. Cook a vegetable stir-fry and toss in diced tofu made with calcium sulfate. Pulses: soya (used to make tofu, soya burgers, soya milk etc) red kidney beans, chick peas, broad beans, baked beans, Add calcium-rich beans like black-eyed peas to soups, pasta sauces, salads and burritos, Use in cooking and baking mixed/mashed into favourite recipes or canned beans as a side dish. Sesame seeds exceptionally high in calcium, a quarter cup contains about 35 percent of the recommended daily value, as well as magnesium, iron, b-vitamins, and zinc. (Hummus a dip, contains Tahini-sesame paste and chickpeas. Tahini can be used in sweet & savoury foods, sauces etc.). Salmon with Bone (canned salmond with the bones) eating salmon with bones is an excellent, tasty, way to enjoy this fish, also high in healthy Omega-3 fats and protein. Use Salmon to make pâté’s, burgers and replace tuna in salad or casserole.
Milk Allergy? Worried about how to get calcium
About Mary-Jane Sharratt
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