Calcium is an important nutrient that helps to build strong bones and teeth and contributes to heart, muscle and nerve health. Since the body does not create its own calcium, it must be absorbed by the food we eat. Milk is a great source of calcium, but if you are not a big fan of drinking it, you can meet your nutritional needs for calcium in other ways.
Other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt also contain calcium. You can help to meet your vegetable quota while boning up on calcium intake by eating green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and bok choy. Almonds, Brazil nuts and flax seeds are loaded with calcium, too.
You can also vary the way you consume calcium by adding calcium-fortified foods to your diet. There are many products on the market that can fill that need including orange juice, tofu, cereals and soy drinks.
If you are interested in finding out if your diet is sufficient in calcium or would like to schedule an appointment with a dietitian, contact East Jefferson General Hospital Registered Dietitian, Rebecca Lee, RD, LDN, at (504) 849-6801 or visit us online at www.ejgh.org.