The nutritional value of dairy food

Getting Enough Calcium

Milk and dairy products are some of the best natural sources of calcium. Three servings of dairy foods - for example, a glass of milk, a pot of yogurt and a small piece of cheese - will provide all the calcium most people need each day. Of course, dairy foods are not the only sources of calcium; others include white bread, pulses (beans and lentils), leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and tinned fish (including the bones). Although it is certainly possible to meet calcium needs through eating these foods, it is considerably more difficult.

With some exceptions, including bony fish, non-dairy foods generally have less calcium per portion. In addition, the calcium is often not well absorbed. Many calcium-containing plant foods also have compounds such as phytates and oxalates which bind the calcium, making it more difficult to absorb. In contrast, the calcium in milk is easily absorbed.

To obtain the same amount of calcium as from one200ml glass of milk, one would need to consume four servings of broccoli (one serving is 85g, which is equivalent to two broccoli spears), seven and a half slices of white bread, 11 servings of spinach (one serving is 90g) or 15 servings of red kidney beans(one serving is 175g).

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