One of the benefits of having a dairy-rich diet is that cheese, milk and yoghurt contain high amounts of calcium. Eating a slice of cheese on the go, or having a swig of milk is very easy to do and maintain, especially in western diets.
However, there are solid arguments for cutting out dairy, whether it is for ethical or dietary reasons. Whatever your stance on cutting out dairy from your diet, one things it does do is make it a little harder to get the recommended amounts of calcium in every day. However, it is far from impossible.
We’ve included a whole host of foods below that are perfect for people who have made the decision to cut dairy out of their diets. To ensure the right levels of calcium are being consumed, you should make sure that your breakfasts, lunches and dinners all contain some of the following foodstuffs (which, apart from containing calcium are jam packed with other much needed nutrients).
Things to include in your non-dairy diet:
Tofu, whitebait, canned sardines, calcium-enriched breakfast cereals and orange juice, baked beans, white bread (white breads have more calcium than wholemeal because they are fortified), calcium-fortified water, sesame seeds and tahini, dried figs, watercress, spinach, curly kale and broccoli.
It’s not just a calcium-rich diet that helps to make strong bones either:
Regular weight bearing exercise, particularly skipping or jumping up and down for a few minutes can help strengthen the skeleton. Yoga is particularly good at strengthening muscles and bones.
Try and reduce the amounts of salt you add to food and cure out phosphoric acid-containing fizzy drinks completely – sodas are particularly bas as they can ‘suck’ calcium from the bones and teeth and make soften them. Alcohol and smoking has much the same effect — and should be reduced or cut out whenever possible.