All I need to do to ensure a night of sleeplessness and trouble breathing is to eat something with dairy. It can be ice cream, pie, cheese, anything with dairy. It’s not something I can comfortably sneak into my meals. I’ve gotten used to it. I can rationalize the sacrifice, and it’s not so hard on me. It’s just a fact of my life. For a child, it’s not so easy to not get to eat the things that other kids get…like ice cream treats. There are substitutes, more and more vegan ice cream choices, but not all of them have the nutrients we look for in dairy.
It’s always been a little bit of a mystery to me, why does an enjoyable food substitute have to have the same nutrients? Why can’t we pick them up from other sources. When you think of meal plans created for children to bring nutrients in as a food group, you can see that this is where there needs to be some special modifications that take into consideration; pleasure as well as nutrition.
More and more adults and children either can’t or won’t drink dairy. While milk and other dairy products are a good source of calcium, there are other food sources with as much or more.
Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in your body. Your bones, teeth, muscle function, and nerves rely on calcium. Because of that, it’s very important that everyone gets an appropriate amount of calcium.
RDI (regular daily intake) of calcium is 1300 mg for children 4-18, 1000 mg for adults, with the exception of women over 50 who should have 1200 mg, and age 70 and over 1200 mg.
Non-Dairy Calcium Sources
- Seeds (1 cup pumpkin 59 mg, 1 tbsp poppy seeds 126 mg, sesame seeds 9 gm, hemp seeds 20 mg per oz)
- Sardines and Canned Salmon (4 oz 350 mg and 3 oz 200 mg)
- Beans, canned (1/2 cup 50-70 mg)
- Beans, white (1/2 cup 95 mg)
- Hummus (1/2 cup 60 mg
- Eggs (2) 50 mg)
- Soybeans, green – boiled, (1/2 cup 90 mg)
- Tahini (2 tbsp 180 mg)
- Tempeh (1/2 cup 75)
- Edamame (1/2 cup 155 gm)
- Tofu (1/2 cup 126 g)
- Gingerbread (2 1/2 oz. 50 mg)
- Pita bread (6 1/2 in 50 mg)
- Tortilla, corn (6 in 45 mg)
- Tortilla, flour (10 in 90 mg)
- Figs (5 135 mg)
- Orange (med 65 mg)
- Dark Leafy Greens (ex 1 cup cooked collard 266 mg)
- Rhubarb (1 cup 87 mg)
- Amaranth (1 cup 116 gm)
- Molasses, blackstrap (1 tbsp 170 mg)
- Almonds, dry roasted (22 80 mg)
- Fortified foods and drinks (see labels)
- Sweet Potato ( 1 large 68 mg)
It is better to spread calcium intake throughout the day, so the fortified foods and drink with high levels of calcium may not be the easy answer they present themselves to be.
Getting calcium in your foods is preferable to calcium supplementation for the same reason. If you feel like you or your child are not getting enough calcium, you should talk to your doctor.
The good news is, there are plenty of sources for calcium in foods that are easily incorporated into regular meals and snacks. Many of the foods are plant-based and fill the needs of those who are not drinking milk because it’s an animal product.
Next week; Bone Formation and Maintenance, Silica
“Physicians are aware of the benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation. However, additional nutritional components may also be important for bone health. There is a growing body of the scientific literature which recognizes that silicon plays an essential role in bone formation and maintenance. Silicon improves bone matrix quality and facilitates bone mineralization. Increased intake of bioavailable silicon has been associated with increased bone mineral density. Silicon supplementation in animals and humans has been shown to increase bone mineral density and improve bone strength. Dietary sources of bioavailable silicon include whole grains, cereals, beer, and some vegetables such as green beans.” NCBI US National Library of Medicine
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