There’s a popular commercial with the slogan “Every Body Needs Milk.” We have a different version when it comes to your health, particularly for women: Every Body Needs Calcium. However, your choices for that mineral range from dairy (yup, as in milk and a cookie!) to certain greens to supplements to calcium-enriched soy milk.
So why do you need calcium and how much? Calcium is an essential ingredient in bone that must constantly be replenished. The National Institutes of Health has created specific guides for the amount of calcium you need at different ages. But how should you get that calcium? Here are a few of your tastiest options:
- Dairy products, from cheese to milk to yogurt, are good choices. Keep them low-fat to avoid too much saturated fat. What’s great about yogurt: It contains probiotics to support healthy digestion. For a good investment in your health, make your own yogurt with the Yogourmet 2 Qt. Electric Yogurt Maker. Vitacost also carries easy-to-use Yogurt Starter Mixes.
- Enriched soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and even hemp milk can provide you with your daily dose of calcium if you need or want to bypass dairy. Try different varieties, such as Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze ® Smooth & Creamy Unsweetened Chocolate. One serving has just 45 calories and 20 percent of your daily calcium needs. For a choice that’s high in calcium and protein, consider White Wave Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk, with 7 grams of protein and 30 percent of your daily calcium needs.
- Smoothies have become the hottest drink in town when it comes to toasting your health! What could be better than a protein shake for calcium and protein combined? And we’ve got a full range, from whey protein like Vitacost ARO Whey Protein Complex PLUS Natural Chocolate with 25 percent of your daily calcium needs per scoop to vegan GeniSoy Soy Protein Powder.
- Taking a daily calcium supplement makes it easy to get the right amount. However, finding one that’s easy to swallow isn’t so simple. Consider a chewable supplement, such as Vitacost Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3 & Magnesium. Vitamin D3 also is important to complement the calcium in keeping your bones strong, while magnesium help promote calcium absorption.
(Note: Be sure to talk with your health care provider to see if any medications you’re taking or conditions you have may impact your calcium intake.)
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.