We’ve all heard that calcium is important for healthy teeth and bones, but did you know that calcium is also needed for our heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for our blood to clot? It’s true! What’s more, national nutrition surveys have found that most Americans don’t get enough calcium in their diets, which can lead to lower bone mass and even the development of osteoporosis. Calcium needs vary from person to person and throughout your life, but most adults need at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day for optimal health.
Calcium is always promoted in milk commercials, but what if you’re one of the millions of people who can’t or don’t drink milk? How can you get your daily recommended dose of calcium? Luckily, there are a lot of other great sources of calcium that can help build strong bones and teeth and keep the rest of your body working, too!
Calcium in your glass.
If you’re just looking for a milk substitute to drink with breakfast, use in a smoothie, or dunk your cookies into (go easy on the cookies, though, okay?) you can turn to almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk, which are healthy, vegan-friendly, and often fortified with calcium. There’s even calcium-fortified orange juice if you want a delicious breakfast beverage. We don’t recommend dipping your cookies into it, but hey, you do you.
Calcium on your plate.
You don’t have to drink your calcium, though. Cheese, yogurt, and even sardines, salmon, and shrimp also have lots of calcium in them, but there are plenty of other foods that do, too. Think outside the dairy aisle and you’ll find calcium in leafy greens such as spinach and kale, not to mention edamame and other beans and peas. Want to get a little more creative? Broccoli, bok choy, collard greens, and even figs and oranges have more calcium than you might expect! If you’re looking for calcium-rich foods, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has a nice list to get you started.
No dairy, thank you!
Vegan? Lactose intolerant? If dairy just isn’t your thing, keep in mind that there are lots of other alternatives out there, from chia seeds to soy milk to okra to sunflower and sesame seeds and beyond. Love sweet potatoes? We do, too! And they’re rich in calcium, to boot! Just make sure you brush after eating them so that orange doesn’t stain your teeth. Some brands of tofu are also loaded with calcium, so be sure to check your labels! Whatever you do to get your calcium, there’s no denying that it’s important for strong bones and healthy teeth. The most important thing that you can do to keep your teeth healthy is to brush and floss every day and make regular visits to your Overland Park dentist at Watts Family Dental! Just give us a call at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment or to trade recipes. We’ve got plenty of suggestions for snacks, meals, and thirst-quenching beverages that are great for your teeth and your overall health!