By Debra Quarles, RD
Registered Dietitian – South Central Human Resource Agency Head Start
June is National Dairy Month and the time to spotlight our dairy farmers for the tremendous contribution they make to the nutritional health of our country and world. Dairy foods provide 75 per cent of all the calcium in the United States food supply. Skim or low fat products have as much calcium as whole milk but less fat and cholesterol. That’s good news for dieters. Cream, sour cream, and cream cheese contain little calcium. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are especially good sources of calcium Vitamin D- fortified milk is also a good source of Vitamin D- which helps the body use calcium. Non-dairy foods that contain significant calcium include dried beans, almonds,
Brazil nuts, hazelnuts (filberts). Canned salmon and sardines with bones, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, dried figs, tofu prepared with calcium sulfate, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in out bodies. About 99 per cent of body calcium is found in bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for bone formation and maintenance, nerve conduction, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and metabolism.
If calcium consumption is inadequate over time, calcium is released from bones, which weakens the skeleton and leads to osteoporosis or porous bones. New research from animal and human studies suggests that getting adequate calcium in the diet may help protect from hypertension (high blood pressure). Epidemiological studies suggest that calcium helps protect against colon cancer.
The National Academy of Science recommends daily calcium intakes as follows: children 1 to 3 years old – 500 mg (milligrams), children 4 to 8 years old – 800 mg, children and teenagers 9 to 18 years old – 1,300 mg, adults 19 to 50 years old – 1,000mg, and adults 51 years and older – 1,200 mg.
Try this calcium – rich recipe! One cup contains 221 calories and 321mg calcium.
Pineapple – Raspberry Eye – Opener Yield – 3 cups
11/2 cups low fat or skim milk
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries or strawberries
1 can (8 ounces) crushed unsweetened pineapple, drained
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
3 Tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Combine all ingredients in blender container. Cover. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately in tall chilled glasses.