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When people think about calcium, they think of milk. Milk and calcium have gone hand in hand in the minds of many people since primary school. Milk was given to young kids to help with their growth and development. And milk is full of calcium – but is it the best form of calcium?
There are a lot of pros and cons to the dairy food debate. While some experts argue that dairy is important to the diet because of its effects on the reduction of osteoporosis and colon cancer, there is another group who say dairy should be reduced where possible because of its links to the increasing risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.
Dieticians will agree that milk and cheese are very high in saturated fat. However, it is well established that these foods are ppacked with vitamin A – which can actually weaken bones.
Nutrionists are now recommending a diet which is high in green, leafy vegetables as the best calcium source. While the levels of calcium are not as high as in dairy, there are a whole bunch of other vitamins and minerals in these types of foods which help the calcium be nicely absorbed by the body, with less escaping through the urine.
If you’re looking outside of dairy – there’s a whole heap of food and vegetables that are rich in the mineral. Look at things like kale, broccoli, bok choy, fortified soy milk, baked beans, and supplements that contain both calcium and vitamin D.
Which means that a vegan diet may actually be better for those in need of a calcium boost than an omnivorous diet.
However, we know it’s difficult to cut out dairy if it’s always bene part of your diet. So think about reducing it, using almond milk instead of normal. Calcium can be topped up from other plant-based foods.