Since childhood, you’ve probably heard that milk is good for the body. We know milk is a great source of calcium. And we know that calcium is vital for bone health and growth in children but the question still begs, why do we need calcium?
In this post, you’ll discover exactly what calcium is, what it does in the body, and how to get more of it.
Calcium is For More Than Just Bones
Calcium is a mineral that plays a part in overall bodily functions. For example, calcium helps with blood clotting, muscle contraction, and heart and nerve health. Roughly 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones. The other is available in your blood and tissue. During pregnancy, calcium plays a vital role in prenatal nervous, circulatory, and skeletal system development.
Your bones are living tissue that is constantly breaking down and regenerating. Getting an adequate amount of calcium combined with a healthy lifestyle helps maintain bone density as you get older.
How Much Calcium is in Milk?
There is roughly 300 mg of calcium in a glass of milk. Other foods available that are high in calcium include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and beans. Dairy alternatives you find in grocery stores are also great sources of calcium. However, while fortified plant-based alternatives provide great nutrients, the calcium they contain may not be well absorbed by your body.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
The typical amount of calcium recommended a day is 1000 mg for men and women aged 19-50 years old. This equals a little more than three cups of milk a day. The amount of calcium you need in your diet varies by age, weight, and sex. For example, if you are a woman that is pregnant or nursing, or over the age of 50, you’ll need more calcium in your diet.
If you are vegan or avoiding dairy for any reason, you’ll need to find healthy ways to add more calcium to your diet. Not having enough dairy can lead to weaker more brittle bones and teeth. When your body doesn’t have enough calcium, it steals the calcium from your bones making them more prone to fractures. And eating more calcium in your diet won’t necessarily replace calcium lost from your bones.
Certain medicines, foods, and supplements can also lower your ability to absorb calcium. For example, while spinach is high in calcium at 260 mg, your body only absorbs about 5% of it. This happens because spinach contains other minerals that bind to calcium, making it difficult for your body to absorb.
How to Get More Calcium in Your Diet
Cows milk is an easily absorbed source of calcium for your body. However, you also need other nutrients like vitamin D to absorb calcium properly. Your skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but you may need to supplement if you have a darker skin tone.
Foods rich in vitamin D include mushrooms, salmon, and egg yolks. Most milk, like a2 Milk™ 3.25% Homogenized Milk, is fortified with vitamins to aid calcium absorption. Try the recipes below to get healthy doses of vitamin D and calcium in your diet.
Eating a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is vital to getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Adding a few healthy alternatives to your recipe rotation doesn’t have to be complex. Start small by changing a single food item at a time or substituting a meal for something healthier. Find a2 Milk™ from your local grocery and try any of our quick and easy recipes the whole family will love. We combine a balance of savory and sweet so you can find something for any palate.