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What is the calcium-rich alternative to milk

What is the calcium-rich alternative to milk

Calcium is known for its important role in building strong bones. However, due to the difference in dietary patterns, Asians tend to have a low intake of calcium. This results in the high prevalence of osteoporosis among elderly people in Hong Kong. It is noteworthy that the problem is affecting younger generations as well. This may be due to factors such as lack of exercise, insufficient sun exposure, drinking too much coffee or excessive weight loss. Bones are constantly remodeled, resorbed and formed. Bone mass peaks at age 25-30.


Afterward, there is a decrease at an average rate of 1% per year. While it is really important to get enough calcium during young age, it is never too late to protect our bones. However, due to taste or lactose intolerance, not everyone can drink milk. So what are some other good food choices of calcium besides milk? Let’s take a look:


1) Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium too. Typically, an 8 oz. yogurt provides 250 mg to 350 mg of calcium while one slice of cheddar cheese (28g) provides 118mg of calcium. Although dairy products are excellent calcium source, they are pretty high in fat too. Therefore, fat-free or reduced fat dairy products are alternatives for overweight people and for those who want to stay fit. 


2) Dark green leafy vegetables:  Vegetables, such as broccoli, Chinese kale and bok choy are also some good examples of calcium-rich food. One bowl of cooked Chinese cabbage (170g) provides 158mg of Calcium. Spinach, chard and beet greens are also high in calcium, but they also contain oxalic acid, which reduces the absorption of calcium. Therefore, they are not considered good dietary sources of calcium.


3)  Soy products: One glass of fortified soy milk (240 ml) offers 300mg of calcium, which makes it a good dietary source. Tofu also contains 200-330mg of calcium per 4 oz. serving. The variation in calcium content of tofu depends on the manufacturing process. In general, firm tofu, which is prepared with calcium sulfate, has a higher content of calcium.


4) Fish: Canned salmon and sardine are calcium-rich as they are canned with their bones. A serving of 100g canned sardine provides about 240mg of calcium. However, since canned products are high in sodium, it is not recommended for frequent consumption. 5) Calcium Supplements: Many of you may consider taking calcium supplements as a calcium source.


There are many different concentrations of calcium forms such as calcium carbonate, calcium lactate, calcium citrate and coral calcium. Coral calcium has the highest calcium concentration since it exists in an ionic form, which can be directly and completely absorbed by the body. Its bioavailability is higher than other forms of calcium. It is the type of calcium compatible with natural trace minerals in order to reach the best result of strengthening bones and teeth.


There is a wide variety of foods other than milk that are beneficial for strong bone. Apart from adequate calcium intake, vitamin D is also an important nutrient for healthy bones. If vitamin D deficiency occurs, the body cannot effectively absorb and utilize calcium for bone formation and maintenance. Therefore, don’t forget to get enough vitamin D.


 Tips for Healthy Bone:

  • Get a 20-30 minutes sun exposure everyday.
  • Moderate your intake of alcohol. Limit salt intake.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take a daily ten-minute walk as a form of weight-bearing exercise.
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