Although the dairy council would like you to believe that milk is the end-all-be-all for calcium, there are many foods, both natural and fortified, which are abundant in calcium. Grab a glass of calcium fortified OJ in the morning, snack on a handful of dates, use hummus as a bagel spread for lunch, grab an energy bar to keep you going mid-day, and have a cup of steamed broccoli with dinner. Well, what do you know; you just ate around 1000mg of calcium, the USDA’s recommended daily intake for most individuals. Check out our Calcium Chart for an extensive list of calcium-rich foods. If you are still concerned, then reach for a calcium supplement. With no shortage of brands on the market, we suggest you read our section on Calcium Supplements before braving the jam-packed vitamin aisle.
Calcium is an essential mineral; we can’t argue that. However, oddly enough, nations with the highest intake of calcium from dairy products in particular (US, Sweden, etc.) are also among the nations with the highest rates of osteoporosis. Those countries in which the people consume little to no milk products, think Japan and China, have a much, much lower incidence of osteoporosis. Shocking? The news was even more shocking when it hit home. A landmark Harvard study of nearly 80,000 nurses showed that women who consumed their calcium from dairy products had a higher rate of osteoporosis than women who consumed their calcium from non-dairy sources. Read our Calcium Guide to find out more on the research, and scientific findings on how to keep your bones strong.