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The Importance of Eating Calcium

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Importance of Eating Calcium

So this is something I feel really strongly about and I actually got into a heated ‘discussion’ with a trainer at my gym regarding this topic... One of the trainers was lecturing everyone on the fact that dairy is the “devils food”. I completely disagree. Yes, milk products have fat in them, yes, fat can cause heart disease related to the cholesterols. BUT, specifically for women, ladies, we only have until the age of around 29-33 to build up and adhere calcium to our bones. After that, the calcium wears off and if we don’t get enough, it can lead to osteoporosis! Yes, calcium supplements can be helpful for those of us who are lactose intolerant, but I am a big believer in getting appropriate vitamins from your diet, making supplements unnecessary. I understand that it is hard with the stress that we are all under and the ridiculous hours that we all work to make healthy choices for food all the time, but the area of calcium is one of the most important minerals to ensure is in your diet. And, lactose intolerant friends, yogurt is lactose free!! So, get your Chobani (my FAVORITE yogurt of all time) fix on and start making some bone history!! Yogurt can give you 20% of your daily calcium, and there are plenty of non-dairy calcium sources which i have listed below:

Food, Standard Amount Calcium (mg) Calories

Fortified ready-to-eat cereals (various), 1 oz 236-1043 88-106

Soy beverage, calcium fortified, 1 cup 368 98

Sardines, Atlantic, in oil, drained, 3 oz 325 177

Tofu, firm, prepared with nigarib , ½ cup 253 88

Pink salmon, canned, with bone, 3 oz 181 118

Collards, cooked from frozen, ½ cup 178 31

Molasses, blackstrap, 1 Tbsp 172 47

Spinach, cooked from frozen, ½ cup 146 30

Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup 130 127

Turnip greens, cooked from frozen, ½ cup 124 24

Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, 3 oz 116 103

Oatmeal, plain and flavored, instant, fortified,

1 packet prepared 99-110 97-157

Cowpeas, cooked, ½ cup 106 80

White beans, canned, ½ cup 96 153

Kale, cooked from frozen, ½ cup 90 20

Okra, cooked from frozen, ½ cup 88 26

Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 88 149

Blue crab, canned, 3 oz 86 84

Beet greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup 82 19

Pak-choi, Chinese cabbage, cooked from fresh, ½ cup 79 10

Clams, canned, 3 oz 78 126

Dandelion greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup 74 17

Rainbow trout, farmed, cooked, 3 oz 73 144

*Borrowed from

(FYI Daily calcium needs are- by age: 9 to 18 years: 1300 mg, 19 to 50 years: 1000 mg, 50+ years: 1200 mg)

And, for the brave people out there, my favorite source of Dairy calcium is Raw Milk and Raw Cheeses. Clean raw milk from grass-fed cows, is a balanced food in and of itself, some people solely live off of it. It was also used as a medicine to “cure” chronic and acute diseases in the early part of the last century. I switched to it on a suggestion by a co-worker, and it has totally changed my life! I cannot drink store bought pasteurized milk, it doesn’t taste as fresh, and I know that the animals are being mistreated in order to obtain that milk (that makes me sad- not sad enough to be vegetarian, but sad). Check out interesting info at

Now, I don’t suggest this for people with lowered immune systems due to cancer, transplants, etc or babies and the elderly. There are risks with drinking/eating raw milk products such as Listeria monocytogenes, that can cause severe illness and death BUT raw milk has lactococcus lactis which is a bacteria that can kill off all listeria monocytogenes. Nonetheless, the risk is still there and you need to be aware of it.

If you are willing to try, go to a local dairy farm or co-op and grab a pint to really is life changing!!

I think I have been pro-calcium enough! Plan your meals around ensuring that you have calcium in your diets, especially you ladies, when you have unbroken hips at the age of 80, you’ll thank me!!!

Good Health!!


At March 29, 2010 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what peoples beef with calcium is to begin with, to deny anyone of a major food group is just ludicrous. Nurse B spread the word, everyone else is stupid

At March 29, 2010 at 6:06 PM , Blogger jonathan stimac mendelsohn said...

Good post, and congrats on this blog. It is exciting to start such work. Let me add my comments. I certainly agree with the public's unfounded worry with fat. We need it. Same as cholesterol. Without it we can't make Vitamin D or hormones and steroids. Also, the fat soluble vitamins in milk and dairy are important, in addition to the calcium. I have recently been researching raw dairy products, and how the pasteurization and homogenization of dairy can destroy many beneficial enzymes and even the vitamin content of dairy. Depending on what state you live in, you can get reliable sources of raw milk. There is concern of bacteria in raw milk, but it is rare, and mostly occurs in immunocompromised people. A good reading source can be found at

At March 30, 2010 at 9:44 AM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

Thanks Jon! There is such a fear surrounding fats that people forget that there is a place for it in our diet...all in moderation! I actually recall seeing a post on FB that you had regarding raw milk; it truly is one of the healthiest choices I have made in my life. I started drinking it while on a raw food diet (I went hardcore eating raw meat, veg, fruit, milk only) the entire diet went by the wayside one freezing February night when all I wanted was hot food, but the one part I couldn't go back on was the raw milk. It is an interesting group of raw milk followers out there and I learn so much from the farmers and other raw milkers all the time, and the benefits that m own body has seen are amazing. Thanks for the input and congrats, Doctor!!!

At March 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Miss Anne said...

People who know nothing about nutrition should not preach to a group of sponges at the gym like they are The Authority on it.

That's just irresponsible and arrogant. Good for you for being opinionated. I usually just judge silently :)

At March 30, 2010 at 11:18 AM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

Thank you Miss Anne! I pick and choose my battles, but I really thought that telling a 25 year old woman that dairy was the worst thing to eat and that she would 'never get her ideal body' while eating dairy and yogurt was downright dangerous advice! I just had to speak up, and I do know that so many people are worried about their fat intake, which is totally understandable, that they forget that fat can be good for us and has an important role in the optimal functioning of our body. I do think it is scary the advice that some people give out ....but most of the time, I'm with you and I too judge silently!! Thanks for your support!

At March 30, 2010 at 5:31 PM , Blogger Miss Anne said...

I agree, dairy is not the enemy. I'm not a fan of these diets that demonize one particular food group or food-type. It's unrealistic, and unsustainable for any amount of time. Shame on pseudo-nutritionist-trainer for being so irresponsible! And who has beef with yogurt? I even go for full fat on yogurt, too. Because let me tell you - the cream on the top is the best part! And because yogurt is food on the go during morning report, I better make sure I've got enough calories to make it until whenever it is I get a chance to eat again. Furthermore, I love cheese and I love bacon. And a world without cheese and bacon is one I don't want to live in. Life is too short to eat low fat cheese and turkey bacon :) Everything in moderation.

Honestly, I roll my eyes when people get all nit-picky about their calories-from-fat intake. If you eat a healthy diet and are conscious about maintaining your figure, chances are you already eat a diet that's naturally low in fat. People seem to not understand the difference between good fat and bad fat (yes, full fat olive oil based salad dressing is actually GOOD for you, dieters of the world). They also seem to not understand the metabolic processes of the human body, but hey - it's our job to educate! Fat is essential, people!

Preaching to the choir, I know :)

At March 31, 2010 at 4:19 PM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

Kudos, Miss Anne! My sentiments exactly!!


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