Calcium for Good Bone Health

Did you know most of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth?

What is calcium?

Calcium is a mineral vital to health and the most abundant one found in your body. You might recognize this nutrient from dairy milk advertisements. If that’s the case, then you know the mineral is important for building strong, healthy bones. Beyond that, calcium is important for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and heart beating. These are some reasons why getting enough calcium through the food you eat is so important. If your body doesn’t get enough calcium it can lead to weak bones, low bone density, osteoporosis, and broken bones.

How much calcium do I need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is different depending on your age and sex. The average adult needs about 1,000 mg per day. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or in menopause your needs are a little higher. Choosing foods that are high in calcium is a great way to meet this need. Keep reading to find out some of these calcium-rich foods.

Food Item, Serving Size, Calcium (mg)

Milk

Skim milk, 8 oz, 302

1% milk, 8 oz, 300

Whole, 8 oz, 300

2% milk, 8 oz, 250

Yogurt

Plain fat-free (with added milk solids), 8 oz, 452

Plain low-fat (with added milk solids), 8 oz, 448

Fruit, low-fat, 8 oz, 345

Frozen, vanilla, soft serve, 1/2 cup, 103

Cheese

Ricotta cheese, part skim, 1/2 cup, 300

Cottage cheese, 1% low-fat, 1 cup, 251

Cheddar cheese, 1 oz, 200

American cheese, 1 oz, 200

Ricotta cheese, whole milk, 1/2 cup, 200

Muenster cheese, 1 oz, 150

Mozzarella cheese, part skim, 1 oz, 146

Parmesan cheese, grated, 1 tbsp, 42

Fish and Shellfish

Sardines, canned in oil, drained, including bones, 3.75 oz, 351

Salmon, pink, canned, including bones, 3 oz, 212

Shrimp, canned, 6 oz, 164

Fruit and Vegetables

Orange Juice, fortified with calcium, 8 oz, 347

Collards, cooked, drained without salt, from raw, 1 cup, 268

Turnip greens, cooked, drained, from raw (leaves and stems), 1 cup, 197

Soybeans, mature, boiled, without salt, 1 cup, 175

Sunflower seeds, dried, 1 cup, 109

Almonds, roasted, 1 oz, 82

Tofu*, 100 g, 76

Bok Choy, raw (Chinese cabbage), 1 cup, 73

Broccoli, cooked, drained from raw, without salt, 1 cup, 62

Broccoli, cooked, drained with salt, from frozen, 1 cup, 60

Orange (navel). 1 whole, 52

Dried figs, 3 pieces, 50

Sesame seeds, kernels, toasted, 1 oz, 37

*The calcium content of tofu may vary depending on processing methods. Tofu processed with calcium salts can have as much as 300 mg (milligrams) for every 4 ounces. Often, the label or the manufacturer can provide more specific information. Source: USDA FoodData Central 2020

Try experimenting with different recipes using the calcium-rich foods listed above to keep your meals interesting. For example, one day have a tofu scramble and the next day enjoy shrimp scampi. Your bones and teeth will thank you!

Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trustâ„¢ so they can live their life to the fullest. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines the three pillars of WholeBody Trustâ„¢: Mind Trust, Hunger Trust and Food Trustâ„¢.

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The Potential Hidden Danger in Your Cereal

We all know iron is something we need to stay healthy and prevent anemia. But did you know that too much dietary iron can hurt your health? When choosing a cereal, most people grab what tastes good. If they are health conscious, fiber rich cereals might be chosen. Or, a cereal low in sugar and calories might be selected. But, savvy health conscious consumers should also be thinking about iron in cereal.

One of the main problems with iron fortification is that the cereal is fortified for the part of the population that needs the most iron. That part of the population is women of childbearing age. So, listen up adult males and older women: you, in particular, need to be mindful of the iron content of your favorite breakfast cereal.

Check the Nutrition Fact Label for iron

When looking at a Nutrition Fact Label, note the percentage of DV iron. Looking at the above label, if a young female of child-bearing age has a 3/4 cup serving of Wheat Chex, she will be consuming 80% of her iron requirements (or about 14 mg of iron). However, if an adult male or older woman eats 3/4 cup of the above cereal, he/she will be consuming almost double the iron recommendation of 8 mg of iron. The fact that so much of our food supply is fortified with iron increases the risk of getting too much.

Problems resulting from too much iron

Constipation. Aside from being unpleasant, this is not healthy for your body. Any toxins or food pathogens present in your food will linger in your gastrointestinal tract. And, this will potentially threaten your overall health. There is also scientific evidence that constipation can be a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Possible accelerated aging. Researchers recently pointed this out in worms, and will likely try to evaluate if this applies to aging in humans. In the interim, we already know that iron causes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in humans is thought to be involved in the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Iron overload concerns. Healthy people make a hormone, hepcidin, which swings into action to prevent too much iron from being absorbed. However, in a now common genetic condition called iron overload (or technically Hemochromatosis), the body is unable to put the brakes on iron absorption and iron begins to build up in the tissues. Early symptoms are varied and include fatigue, abdominal pain, and increased infections. Later symptoms include liver failure and heart failure, bone damage, and diabetes.

For those who have yet to be diagnosed with iron overload, choosing a cereal with generous iron is particularly problematic. Healthy males and older women should read the cereal Nutrition Fact Label to make the best choice for iron intake. Chances are your cereal has too much, so buyer beware.

Sue Rose is an IL licensed dietitian/nutritionist providing counseling to both corporations and individuals. She invites you to visit her blog for intelligent and relevant diet and lifestyle strategies to enhance your life and well-being.

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50 Calorie Snacks: Something for Everyone

Do you like to snack? It seems most of us do if we have the choice. According to one survey, in 2018, 43% of respondents reported eating three meals and a few snacks on a daily basis. And, another 32% usually skip or replace one meal per day with snacks. Impulse snacking is not the only type of snacking. Planned snacking is also on the rise, and choosing 50 calorie snacks with a strategic purpose is smart eating!

According to a Nielson report, 33 billion US dollars are being spent on snacks. The current trend for snacks is opting for snacks that call attention to health claims. Choosing packaged convenience snacks that are non-GMO, free of artificial colors/flavors, and low in sugar are leading the way.

If your goal is managing blood sugar or weight, opting for a healthier low calorie snack is not optional. Poor snacking can definitely wreck the best eating plans. But, selecting healthier snacks that fit your personal calorie requirements and dietary needs can help your overall healthy eating strategy.

50 calorie snacks with some protein

Protein offers the dietary advantage of making you feel full for a longer time period. It helps regulate blood sugar by stabilizing it. And, in order to maintain blood sugar levels, it is not necessary to consume a large amount of protein. The portions below will often be just enough to keep hunger pangs away by preventing drastic drops in your blood sugar levels.

1 slice of 2% milkfat American cheese
1 oz. of lean turkey
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
Laughing cow cheese wedge
1 oz. flank steak
1/3 cup garbanzo beans
3 oz. Dannon Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. egg whites
1 oz. chicken
50 calorie snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth
While there’s nothing unusual about having a sweet tooth, most people know that this can get out of control. Knowing the portion sizes that can satisfy your sweet tooth without ruining your waistline is important for your sanity and health. The ten options below will help your cravings and keep your trim.

1 fig bar
5 jelly beans
12 M & M candies
1 vanilla Snackwell cookie
1/2 of a low fat 100 calorie ice cream sandwich
2 Hershey kisses (more ideas for chocolate cravings)
coffee with 1 tsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. half and half
2 marshmallows
diet root beer float made with diet root beer + 1/4 cup ice cream
1/4 cup frosted mini wheats
Fiber rich snacks to fill you up
Fiber has so many health benefits for so many medical concerns. One of the key benefits of fiber is that is fills you up-we say it offers satiety. If you feel full, then you will theoretically be less inclined to keep eating. Obviously, feeling full is great while you are trying to shed some pounds or manage weight.

12 baby carrots
1 cup watermelon
10 dill pickles
1/2 grapefruit
15 grapes
1 cup cantaloupe
15 cherry tomatoes
1 cup light popcorn
1/2 oz. melba wheat toast crackers
1 large chopped pepper
Enjoy this list to meet your snacking goals along with rounding out your dietary requirements.
Sue Rose is an IL licensed dietitian/nutritionist providing counseling to both corporations

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