Calci-YUM

Milk is good for you.

No surprise there!

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We need milk to get calcium… I’m sure we’ve heard that many times.

But many of us have stopped drinking good ol’ glass of fresh milk apart from maybe a dash of milk in our morning coffee or tea, or perhaps from ice cream or cream puffs or something random like that.

Contrary to what most people think, there are many other non-dairy alternatives where you can get your calcium from.

I felt that a post about Calcium was in order especially since most of the readers are in their teens to early twenties, which is a critical stage for calcium absorption.

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Calcium is not just important for strong bones… it also helps hearts, muscles and nerves function properly!

If you’re between 14-30 years old, you’ll need between 1000-1300mg of calcium daily. That’s not too hard.

Here are some ways you can make sure you get enough calcium in:

Just make sure you get in four-five servings of any of the following high-calcium foods:

Food sources of calcium, including milk, cheese, ricotta, yoghurt, sardines, kale, broccoli, spinach, soy beans, kidney beans, lentils and figs (as per USDA nutrient databank).
Food sources of calcium, including milk, cheese, ricotta, yoghurt, sardines, kale, broccoli, spinach, soy beans, kidney beans, lentils and figs (as per USDA nutrient databank).

1) Whole Milk (I’ve explained why full-fat milk is the way to go)
2) Oatmeal
3) Spinach
4) Okra (Ladyfingers)
5) Tofu
6) Sardines
7) Cheddar Cheese
8) Baked Beans
9) Non-dairy milk alternatives
10) Various types of beans
11) Bok Choy
12) Salmon

Let’s see… playing around with these foods, you can get a whole day worth of eats!

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Breakfast could be banana and peanut butter oatmeal cooked with a cup of milk. Lunch could be a ricotta and spinach lasagna (calcium from the ricotta cheese, spinach, milk used to make the white sauce and cheddar cheese topping) and Dinner could be asian-style with rice, and tofu, sardines, and okra for the side dishes! To top it all off, have some ice cream for dessert and you are good to go.

See, it’s not that hard if you make a conscious effort to incorporate calcium into your diet, now that you know calcium doesn’t always have to come from dairy.

How do you ensure that you have sufficient absorption of calcium?

Vitamin D is key!

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Vitamin D and Calcium are like Peanut Butter and Bananas or Oreos and milk… you see where I’m going?

You can’t have one without the other or it won’t be the same.

How do you get Vitamin D? 

There are two ways, firstly you could get some sun 😀 Direct exposure to sunlight helps to produce Vitamin D in the skin. So drink a glass of milk and head out for some sunshine.

You could also get Vitamin D from various types of food. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, butter, fatty fish, liver, and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereal.

Time is ticking!

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The body’s ability to produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and to absorb calcium and vitamin D decreases with age…

So it’s important that you start building the calcium stores now! Before your body can’t absorb anymore calcium, and relies on your existing calcium in your bones to sustain itself. If you don’t have sufficient calcium, you’ll be at risk of osteoporosis even earlier on in life.

Enjoy your Calci-YUM 😀

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Getting enough calcium doesn’t have to be a chore. You could take calcium supplements, but while you’re at it, you might as well have some fun.

Make your own healthified ice cream using milk and fruits and any flavours you like, or perhaps enjoy some yogurt and granola for a snack. Blending spinach to make a green smoothie is a sneaky way to hit your five-a-day and add in some calcium too!

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