Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

What foods have calcium since I can’t drink milk?

Thank you for your great question! Many people are finding that drinking milk causes them stomach and intestinal upset even if it didn’t in years past.

Milk is a great choice for getting the nutrients we all need therefore, if we can drink milk, it is a good beverage choice. Besides being a good source of protein, it has phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, B12 and zinc in addition to calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients in combination help us build and maintain strong bones.

Dairy foods of all kinds, not just milk, provide these nutrients including cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products such as cottage cheese and lactose free milk products. Some people who have trouble tolerating milk find they can enjoy these and other dairy foods that will provide them with important nutrients.

But other foods can also provide us with the mineral calcium if we are looking to increase our intake of that particular nutrient.

Foods high in calcium:

  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Tofu and other soy products
  • White beans
  • Dried figs
  • Kale
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Almonds
  • Turnip greens
  • Cereals fortified with calcium
  • Orange juice fortified with calcium
  • Rice or almond milk

You can choose foods that will provide you with calcium as well as other nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants, but you need to be aware of the number of servings required to meet your daily needs.

The amount of calcium you need is based on your age — adult men require 1,000 mg a day, women need 1,200 mg a day, and teens need 1,300 mg per day.

Too much calcium can be harmful so be sure you are not taking supplemental calcium at the same time you ingest adequate amounts from the foods you eat to prevent an unhealthy excess.

It is important to know that not all calcium is easily absorbed. Plan accordingly when considering if you are getting enough of all nutrients. Even foods with poorly absorbed calcium give us other vital nutrients.

Keeping a good balance of all foods and a variety of nutritious foods will help us meet all our nutritional needs each day.

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