The number one mineral we need for our bones is Calcium. With this we also need to make sure we have enough Vitamin D to help our body to absorb the calcium. This is especially the case for Indian’s as 70%-100% of the population was found to have vitamin D deficiency!
Calcium is found in various foods and drinks. Most of our daily recommended intake comes from dairy sources, but what about those people who have a low tolerance for dairy or prefer alternatives? Is it still possible to meet our dietary intake? The answer is yes but you may have to eat more to meet the recommendations.
Where can I get Vitamin D from?
Vitamin D in the body is mostly made after our body reacts with sunlight (outside). The time required to be out in the sun depends on the season and the UV exposure for the day.
Small amounts of Vitamin D can be found in: Fortified foods, eggs, salmon, tuna, mackerel and Vitamin D mushrooms. The amount found in foods is not enough to provide you for the day.
For this reason, many people are required to take supplements if their levels are low.
How much calcium do we need in one day?
This depends on your age group and if you are referring to men or women. As a quick general guide here is the recommendations:
Some medical conditions may cause the need for slightly different amounts.
What food gives me 1 serve of calcium?
Found easily in:
- 250ml regular, low fat or skim milk
- 250ml milk alternative (soy, almond, rice etc. with added calcium)
- 2 slices or 40g cheese
- ¾ cup or 200g yoghurt (regular or low fat)
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup or 130g tofu or tempeh
- 1 can sardines
Calcium present in lesser quantities:
- 1 cup cooked broccoli = ½ of 1 serve
- 6 dried figs = 2/3 of 1 serve
- 1 can salmon = 2/3 of 1 serve
- 10 almonds = 1/10 of 1 serve
- 200g soybeans =1/3 of 1 serve
- 1 cup cooked bok choy =1/5 of 1 serve
- 1 cup chopped celery = 1/5 of 1 serve
Ideally it would be great to have as much of variety as possible. As you can see it is much harder to meet your recommendations with the foods that contain much smaller quantities of calcium alone.
Please note this advice is of a general nature. If you have any concerns or queries you should get tailored advice from an accredited practising dietitian and always consult with your General Practitioner before making any changes.
National recommended guidelines: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium
Further comparison of calcium sources: https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/calcium-food-table-web.pdf
By Deevya Gupta is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian in Melbourne | W: www.abcofnutrition.com.au
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