Calcium: Easy ways to get more of it in your diet

Dairy products provide our body with many important nutrients including calcium, Vitamin D and potassium. We can get these nutrients through various sources including dairy products and some vegetables.

If you are working to reduce your calories in your diet, one easy way to do this is to switch to fat-free or low-fat milk products. Milk products are an important part of one’s diet regardless of age. Milk products provide our bodies with many nutrients including calcium, Vitamin D and potassium. Moderate evidence shows that intake of milk and dairy products are associated with a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and lower blood pressure in adults. 

The recommended servings of milk and dairy products for children ages 9 to 18 and for adults is three cups per day. Fat-free or low-fat options provide all the nutrients that regular fat items provide, but with fewer calories. Look for low-fat options in milks, cheese and even ice cream. It is important for parents to encourage their young children to drink milk as eating habits are established when the child is very young. Encouraging children to drink milk when they are young will often lead to that child drinking milk when he or she is an adult.

If a child or adult is lactose intolerant, many lactose-free products are now available. Soy products that are fortified with calcium, Vitamin A and D are considered to be a part of the milk group. Milk products are now derived from various sources including cow’s milk, goat milk, soy, almonds, rice and coconuts.

If a person does not care for milk, other foods that bring similar nutrients should be encourage such as low-fat cheese options, cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, flavored milks, frozen yogurt and ice cream. Some vegetables also carry calcium including spinach, snow peas and lettuce.

No matter which way you choose to get your calcium, many options exist that will help keep your bones strong and reduce your risk of other health problems.

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