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Milk vs Calcium Supplements

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - Most people can best meet their calcium needs through food. However, calcium supplements may be necessary if you have a diagnosed milk allergy, severe lactose intolerance, poor appetite, or have chosen not to include milk products in your diet.

Ideas for action to improve calcium intake:

1. Find out which foods are a rich source of calcium. Try to improve your calcium intake through foods before choosing to take a supplement.

2. Enjoy calcium rich foods such as milk, cheese and yogourt on a daily basis. These foods are concentrated sources of calcium. Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends 2 to 4 servings a day of Milk Products to ensure that you meet your calcium needs.

3. Keep track daily of the number of Milk Products servings that you have. Try to have at least the minimum number of servings recommended by Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

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4. If you are unable to meet your calcium needs through food, discuss your concerns with a registered dietitian, physician or pharmacist.

  • Food is our body's preferred source of essential nutrients over supplements. Milk products are a great source of calcium and chock full of nutrients. They are also less expensive and better tasting than calcium supplements.

  • Because of their rich calcium content, milk and milk products are an excellent source of calcium. The bioavailability of calcium from milk and milk products coupled with their price makes them a great choice for calcium.

  • Calcium can be found in a variety of foods. A serving of sardines with bones is an excellent source of calcium (100 g contains 437 g). Canned salmon with bones is a good source (1/2 can (213 g) pink salmon with bones contains 233 g). Although some vegetables do contain calcium, the bioavailability and the amount a person would have to eat to meet their needs must be considered. For example, a person would have to eat 2 1/2 cups of broccoli or about 8 cups of spinach to get the same amount of calcium found in a cup of milk.


- News Canada