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. There are plenty of ways to get calcium without dairy. Grab a glass of calcium fortified OJ in the morning, snack on a handful of figs, spike your lunchtime salad with kale, grab an energy bar or make a smoothie to keep you going mid-day, and have a cup of steamed broccoli and a side of whole grains 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 my All About Milk and Calcium section on this site. It includes a Non-Dairy 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. Also, here are a couple of brands that I recommend for calcium supplements.
Calcium is an essential mineral; I 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 Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook to find out more on the research and scientific findings on strong bones.