Article by Grace Siggers, Food Safety and Education Staff
Source: Dairy Foods: Naturally Nutrient Rich
Eating three servings of dairy foods in addition to regular physical activity is an important way for the whole family to build strong bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the name of the bone loss disease that occurs later in life due to a lack of calcium.
Calcium, which is in dairy and non-dairy foods, is very important for human growth and development. You actually have more calcium in your body than any other mineral. It makes up much of your bones and teeth and plays a role in heart health, muscle function and nerve signaling.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is:
The main foods rich in calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Many non-dairy sources are also high in calcium including poppy seeds, sesame seeds and leafy green vegetables such as collard greens, spinach and kale. Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with calcium thanks to their edible bones, which are an exceptionally healthy choice.
Another way to obtain calcium is from fortified foods, such as some types of cereal, which can deliver up to 1,000mg per serving before adding milk. Remember your body cannot absorb all that calcium at once, so it is important to spread out your intake throughout the day.
Take care of yourself and set a good example for your kids at the same time by getting 3-A-Day of dairy, and participate in weight bearing exercises.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture