Lactose Intolerant? Here Are Other Ways to Get Your Calcium!

Posted on December 15, 2015

Worldwide, nearly 65 percent of people have some difficulty digesting lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance is most common among people who are of East Asian, Arab, West African, Greek, Italian or Jewish heritage. Although lactose is not a serious disorder, it does rule out a common source of calcium: dairy products. Fortunately, there are other easy ways to boost your calcium consumption and keep your bones healthy.iStock_26961179_SMALL_1.jpg

Know Your Daily Needs

The National Institutes of Health recommend that adult men and women get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Starting at age 51, women should increase their intake to 1,200 mg daily. Men older than 70 should also aim for 1,200 mg per day.

The Best Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

There are plenty of non-dairy calcium sources to ensure you get enough:

  • Beans. Beans are a great source of calcium as well as protein. For example, a cup of baked beans contains 154 mg of calcium.
  • Oatmeal. Start your day with a healthy breakfast that contains calcium. A cup of oatmeal contains 100 to 150 mg of calcium.
  • Canned salmon. Salmon and other fatty fishes (e.g., mackerel, tuna) are rich sources of calcium. Fresh fish contain plenty of calcium, but so do canned versions. For example, canned salmon packs 181 mg of calcium.
  • Leafy green vegetables. Dark leafy greens are one of the best dietary sources of calcium. Try kale, mustard greens, spinach or Swiss chard. For example, a cup of cooked collard greens contains a whopping 268 mg of calcium.
  • Fortified foods. Soy milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals are often fortified with calcium.
  • Nuts. Many varieties of nuts contain 100 mg of calcium or more.

Consider Taking a Supplement to Ensure You Get Enough

If you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, a daily calcium supplement may be appropriate. Your Long Island Medical Center doctor can help you decide whether a supplement is right for you.

Cut Back on Soda

Not only is soda bad for your teeth, it can also increase the levels of phosphate in your blood. Phosphate tends to leach calcium molecules from the bones. Additionally, it can decrease your ability to absorb calcium from your diet. The net effect of soft drinks can decrease calcium levels and destabilize bone health.

If you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough calcium, talk to your Long Island orthopedic specialist. Your physician can help you find ways to boost your calcium intake and keep your bones healthy and strong, whether you're a milk drinker or not!