Calcium is a vital part of every diet, but many people are not getting all the calcium they
need for healthy teeth and bones. Nutritionists recommend that women aged from 11 to 18 consume no less than 800 mg of calcium every day, and that those aged 19 and older get at least 700 mg of calcium every day. Calcium is vital to healthy teeth and bones, and to preventing such complications as osteoporosis.
Why you need calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it accounts for from 1.5 to 2% of the average person’s total body weight. The vast majority of calcium in the body, a full 99%, is concentrated in the bones and the teeth, with the remaining 1% distributed throughout the bloodstream, muscles and other body tissues. It is crucial that the body have a steady supply of calcium to draw from at all times.
Milk is the single most important source of calcium, and few foods are as rich in calcium and as healthy as is milk. In addition to calcium, milk contains significant amounts of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. These elements are vital, since they help the body absorb and more readily use the calcium in the diet. In addition, milk contains vitamin D, which is also vital for the utilization of dietary calcium. In addition to milk, vitamin D is derived from sunlight, and from the consumption of meat, canned fish with bones, tofu and green leafy vegetables.
Milk in a healthy diet
While many other foods also contain calcium, milk and dairy products have more concentrated levels of calcium, and it is difficult to get the necessary 700-800 mg of calcium without milk in the diet. In order to replace the calcium in a single glass of skim milk it would be necessary to eat three servings of spinach, nine boiled eggs, five large servings of broccoli or 20 servings of lettuce.
Nutritionists recommend that adults drink three and a half glasses of milk every day in order to get the amount of calcium they need in their diet. There are many ways to get that milk besides drinking it plain. For instance, many people find that mixing their milk with a couple of spoons of honey and mixing it in the blender makes a delicious and nutritious smoothie. In addition, milk can be added to your favorite recipes, and used in your daily coffee.
Cut the fat
Of course getting the calcium you need is important, but so is cutting the fat in the diet. A high fat diet has been implicated in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other serious medical conditions, so it is important to avoid fat while getting the calcium you need. That is why it is so important to seek out low fat and nonfat dairy products whenever you can. Doing so will allow you to get all the calcium you need without consuming more fat than you need.