The studies are clear. There is nothing special about dairy and bone health. The amount of calcium the average person needs is likely far less than the levels recommended in the United States. 28 It’s not total calcium intake that matters, but how much calcium you hold on to.
These days, we pee out huge amounts of calcium—cigarette smoke, sugar, phosphoric acid in sodas, stress, and caffeine all make us lose the mineral. But we can get adequate levels of calcium from many foods besides milk.
Some sources contain even more than dairy, minus the hormones, allergens, and other baggage. The FDA advises Americans to consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. If it’s a mineral you’re lacking, there are better ways to get it than from dairy. Here’s how some common food sources stack up 29 :
Sesame seeds, ¼ cup: 351 milligrams Sardines (with bones),
3¾-ounce can: 351 milligrams Tofu,
3½ ounces: 350 milligrams Yogurt, 1 cup: 296 milligrams Collard greens,
1 cup: 268 milligrams Spinach, 1 cup: 245 milligrams Cheese,
1 ounce: 204 milligrams Turnip greens,
1 cup: 197 milligrams canned sockeye salmon (with bones),
3 ounces: 188 milligrams Blackstrap molasses,
1 tablespoon: 180 milligrams Mustard greens,
1 cup: 165 milligrams Beet greens,
1 cup: 164 milligrams Bok choy,
1 cup: 158 milligrams Almonds,
Dry roasted, 2 ounces: 150 milligrams Cows’ milk,
8 ounces: 276 milligrams Furthermore, there’s even evidence that it’s vitamin D,
Not calcium that truly strengthens our bones.
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