calcium food sources

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Calcium for a healthy you - Calcium food sources

Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for the body to build strong bones and teeth. Likewise, calcium is important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation. About 99% of the calcium in our body goes to bone cells (including our teeth) while 1% mixes in the blood. When calcium in the blood goes below normal, the bones release the necessary amounts of calcium to put it back to normal. Long-term shortage of calcium results to osteoporosis, a crippling disease that affects men and women mostly in their 50's.

It is of vital importance to take in the recommended daily allowance of calcium while you're young. Dairy products are just one of the many calcium food sources. If you dislike this option, there are various non-dairy calcium food sources that are equally high in calcium. However, fiber may interfere in calcium absorption but non-dairy calcium food sources have lesser cholesterol or none at all compared to calcium food sources like milk, cheese, etc. Milk remains the highly absorbed calcium food source.

Calcium food sources - dairy

Skim milk is the highest source of calcium among other milk products containing 306mg of readily absorbable calcium, 8oz plain yogurt contains 415mg, 8oz whole milk has 275mg, pasteurized American cheese contains 162 for an ounce, 1 cup cottage cheese with 1% milk fat has 138mg. In general, cow's milk has a fractional absorption of 32%, which translates to 96mg of absorbable calcium per 300mg calcium content. It is still the highest among calcium food sources only that you'd have to contend with high amounts of cholesterol present in milk.

Calcium food sources - non-dairy

If you are a vegetarian or are not a dairy person, there are always alternative calcium food sources that will suit your lifestyle and preferences.

Tofu if set with calcium, for a 1 cup serving, contains 130mg of calcium, 1oz of dry roasted almonds has 80mg calcium, 1 tablespoon of almond butter has 43mg, 1 cup pinto or red or cranberry beans contains 82-89, 1 cup white beans has 161mg, 1 cup boiled broccoli contains 178mg with 53% fractional calcium absorption, 1 cup boiled brussel sprouts has 56mg with 64% fractional absorption, 1 cup boiled Chinese cabbage contains 158mg with 54% fractional absorption, cup firm tofu set with calcium contains 258mg with 31% fractional absorption, and 1 cup boiled turnip greens contain 198mg of calcium and a fractional absorption of 52%.

To lessen your chances of cholesterol intake, you may wish to alternate milk and non-dairy calcium food sources to be able to meet your daily requirement for calcium. For an extensive list of calcium food sources, check the official website of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
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