Calcium: The Friend None of Us Can Seem to Get Enough of

Maybe it is because my Medical Nutrition Therapy class lecture revolved around bone health, maybe it is because I presented a nutrition education session to a gaggle of 7-9 year olds this afternoon on milk consumption, regardless – I am buzzing on all things calcium right now.

As a nutrition and dietetic student I like to think I eat pretty healthfully.  However, after today’s lecture on bone health and completing an osteoporosis risk assessment questionnaire, it took every ounce of self-control I possess to not go running for the nearest health food store and purchase all the calcium and vitamin D supplements my depleted bank account could buy.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that extreme but you get the idea.

While I am totally conscious about consuming my fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean meats, and healthy fats most days of the week, my dairy intake is rather, well, embarrassing. The RDA for adults up to the age of 50 is 1,000mg/day.  After 50 years of age, the recommendation jumps to 1,200mg/day.  (Note: boys and girls ages 9-18 should be getting 1,300mg/day).

There is some good news out there if you want to reach your recommended daily allowance. First, calcium fortified foods can really help you get a leg up on your intake without having to drown in milk and yogurt each day.  Secondly, for all you caffeine addicts out there, lattes totally count. My teacher, an R.D., gets in one of her 3 cups a day through her ritual latte each morning.

I mentioned earlier that I took an osteoporosis risk assessment questionnaire in class today.  Below is the first question.  Answer it and see how you do!

How many servings of the following foods do you consume daily?

Food                  Serving Size          Number of Servings         Mg of Ca per servings
Milk                      (1 cup)                            _______              x 300 = _________
Yogurt                  (1 cup)                             _______             x 300 = _________
Cheese                  (1 slice)                          _______             x  200 = _________
Cottage Cheese   (1/2 cup)                        _______             x  70 = _________
Ice Cream             (1 cup)                            _______             x 180 = _________

Daily Calcium Intake = ________

Needless to say, my total was pathetic.

Interested to see how many cups of dairy you should be getting per day.  Here is a helpful little table I pulled off mypyramid.gov

Still want more information?  Several organizations now have calcium calculators on their websites. Listed below are some links if you feel so moved as to tally, track and brag about your calcium consumption!
In closing, I leave you with Hayden Panettiere’s Got Milk Ad.  Because nothing makes me want to drink milk more than broken glass and a mess on the floor…
Courtesy of: gotmilk.com

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