Lactose intolerance is more common than people think. Lactose intolerance means that someone lacks the enzyme lactase that is needed to digest milk. When they consume milk, it remains undigested with vomiting or passes down the G.I.T resulting in diarrhea or constipation. Different people have different levels of intolerance in that some people can tolerate varying amounts of milk while others can tolerate very little of it. It is rarer but possible to be 100% lactose intolerant.
But, before you run to pop a pill to supplement calcium, have you considered the healthier (in most part), easily available and affordable sources of calcium? Very many foods contain some amount of calcium. Some have little amounts while some have large amounts. Its the cumulative total from all the sources that eventually determine the total daily intake of calcium.
Consuming 8 oz of milk (about ¾ of a 300ml cup) gives you 29mg of calcium. Did you know that milk is not the highest source of dietary calcium? Read on and learn.
- Sesame seeds – These are found in many forms and include; sprinkled on burger buns, as a snack that’s ready-to-eat and as tahini paste which is like peanut butter except made from sesame seeds. 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds will give you about 88mg of calcium whereas 1 tablespoon of Tahini paste will give you 64mg of calcium.
- Eggs – Eggs are an alternative source of calcium as well as other nutrients but they should be limited to 2-3 per week maximum. 1 large chicken egg scrambled will give you about 43mg of calcium.
- Fortified foods – There are many foods currently which are fortified with calcium. These usually include cereals and juices. With juices, concern is not to feed children too many sweet drinks as well as care to avoid discoloring teeth. These levels of calcium vary from 100mg to 1,000mg of calcium and are found indicted on the packaging of the food.
- Vegetables – Vegetables are a good source of calcium and especially kales, spinach and broccoli. These are easily available in the supermarkets or green grocers. ½ a cup of broccoli will give you 47mg of calcium and ½ a cup of kales will give you 45mg of calcium, ½ cup of cooked spinach will give you about 138mg of calcium, ½ cup raw cabbage 16.5mg of calcium, 1 potato baked with skin on will give 30mg of calcium, ½ cup raw carrot will give 15mg of calcium.
- Fish – Fish especially canned sardines are a very rich source of calcium. Consuming 4 canned sardines will give you 242mg of calcium. Whereas eating 3 oz of trout will give you 75mg of calcium.
- Nuts – Almonds are a good source of dietary calcium. Eating ½ oz( about 24) of dried almond will give you 37mg of calcium whereas 1/2 an oz of peanuts will give you 12.5mg of calcium.
- Dried herbs – Interesting to note is that dried herbs are a rich source of calcium. When herbs are fresh, they have a lower calcium level and hence for high calcium intake, use dried herbs. Best examples include basil, thyme, rosemary and dill and are easily available in the supermarkets. 1 teaspoon of any of the herbs named above will contain about 53mg of calcium.
- Cheese – For those who cannot digest milk but can tolerate cheese, cheddar or mozzarella are great sources of calcium. These can be used in sandwiches or in cooking various dishes. 1 oz of cheddar will give you about 204mg of calcium while 1 oz of mozzarella will give you 147mg of calcium.
- Soy – Soy is a vegetable that produces a wide range of consumable delicacies that are a rich source of calcium. These include milk as soy milk, tofu and soy sauce which is used in cooking. It can also be eaten as a bean or made into a paste. 8 oz of soy milk will give you 150mg to 300mg of calcium and ½ cup of tofu will give you 258mg of calcium.
- Fruits – Fruits are good sources of calcium especially oranges. 1 fresh orange will give you 52mg of calcium whereas ½ a cup of papaya will give you 36mg of calcium. 1 wedge of watermelon will give you 23mg of calcium and 1 apple with skin will give you 10mg of calcium.
Point to note; daily recommended calcium intake is as follows;
1 – 3 years = 700mg
4-8years = 1,000mg
9 – 18 years = 1,300mg
19 – 70 years = 1,000mg
>70 years = 1,200mg