For many years parents have been forcing their children to drink milk because it was a way to get them the calcium they need for their growing bodies. But, it turns out that the relationship between proteins in dairy products and the calcium needed for their bones is still a mystery. Milk might not give you all the calcium you need and experts argue that dairy products can contribute to problems like heart disease and even prostate cancer because of the high saturated fat content.
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Calcium is a mineral that your body needs for building and maintaining your teeth and bones, blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of your heart’s rhythm. 90% of calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth and 1% in your blood and other tissues.
The body gets calcium from eating foods or supplements high in calcium, as well as pulling it from bones. Yet, milk isn’t the only way to get calcium into your body. It’s important to have a balanced diet. This is why experts recommend to get all of the vitamins you can get, but from different sources and not too much of each.
High in Calcium Foods
- 3 oz. can of sardines: 321 mg of calcium
- ½ cup of soybean sprouts: 230 mg of calcium
- 1 cup of yogurt: 450 mg of calcium
- 1 cup of Soy Milk: 200-400 mg of calcium
- 1 cup of dried figs: 300 mg of calcium
- 4 oz. of tofu: 250-750 mg of calcium
- 1 oz. of sesame seeds: 280 mg of calcium
- Orange juice: 300 mg of calcium
The National Academy of Sciences suggest a fairly high requirement of calcium:
- 1,000 milligrams/day for those age 19 to 50
- 1,200 milligrams/day for those age 50 or over
- 1,000 milligrams/day for pregnant or lactating adult women
Even though calcium is needed for good bone health and to prevent osteoporosis, there are other vitamins that are needed just as badly, such as Vitamin D. This is why we see calcium supplements that contain vitamin D. Vitamin K, found in many leafy greens regulates calcium and aids bone formation. Low levels of this vitamin have been linked to low bone density. So, don’t swear off drinking milk, but do include variety into your diet, which will help fortify your bones.