There are many who cut dairy from their diet, it can be just because they don’t like it or due to health concerns. But dairy foods are an important source of calcium and nutrients that keep us healthy. Calcium is not only the building block of the teeth and bones, but it is important for the function of nerves cells, muscles and for cell division. It’s presence is required in the saliva to avoid tooth decay.
So if one needs to cut off dairy products from the diet it is important to keep in mind that:
- Calcium is an essential mineral that the body cannot create and it must be absorbed from food. Other source of calcium beside dairy products are dark leafy vegetables, such as bok choy and broccoli, foods fortified with calcium such as orange juice, cereal, soymilk and nuts such as almonds. Make sure you know the recommended calcium intake for your age—the average daily need of an adults is 1,000 mg.
- Vitamin D is important in helping the body adsorb calcium from the food, without it the ingested calcium will not be absorbed. Our body can make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. But if we don’t get enough sun exposure, we can get vitamin D naturally from seafood like mackerel, salmon and tuna. Other sources of Vitamin D can be from processed foods such as orange juice, cereal and soymilk. The average daily need of an adults is about 600 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin D.
Having the right levels of calcium and vitamin D will allow your teeth and bones to stay in good health.