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Getting Calcium in Your Diet

There’s no question that we need to take in enough calcium every day to build strong bones and keep them that way. The question is: what’s the best way to get enough?

It has been said that our sewer systems are full of calcium. We’re popping supplements-and then excreting calcium four to six hours later, often relatively undigested and unabsorbed by our bodies. Or we’re spending significantly for supplements that claim to be highly absorbable.

It makes the most sense to get as much calcium as possible from the food you eat. The bonus, of course, is that getting calcium from your diet can be delicious and relatively inexpensive.

The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health provides great information about calcium requirements from childhood to old age and a good short list of calcium sources.

Here are some of the calcium “stars”:

  • Plain, low fat yogurt at 415 mg. of calcium per cup
  • Sardines, canned in oil, 324 mg. of calcium per 3 ounces – it’s the bones with the calcium!
  • Nonfat milk, 320 mg. per cup
  • Fortified orange juice, 200 – 260 mg. of calcium per ¾ cup
  • Fortified soy milk, 80 to 500 mg. per cup
  • Black-eyed peas, 106 mg. per ½ cup
  • Small white beans 65 mg. per ½ cup

If you can’t seem to get enough calcium in the food you eat, you are not alone. You may need a calcium supplement to reach your daily requirement. Do a quick survey of the calcium you take in through your food for a week. If you are consistently not meeting your daily calcium requirements, you will need a supplement.

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