Calcium is an essential mineral for boosting bone health and staving off osteoporosis. A recent report from Harvard Health News concludes that calcium lowers the risk of colon cancer. Other health authorities recommend calcium for regulating blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and weight control. Getting plenty of calcium may prevent insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
With so much at stake, it is essential that the body has enough calcium to maintain proper functioning. Harvard doctors suggest at least 600 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Although supplements can easily deliver that dosage, incorporating foods high in calcium is the most natural and effective way to go. And they taste better, too.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk is often synonymous with calcium intake; after all, a cup delivers 300 milligrams of calcium. However, milk also delivers protein, riboflavin, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients. Look for milk fortified with Vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium.
Products made from milk can offer as many benefits. A cup of yogurt has as much calcium as a cup of milk, and cheeses contain concentrated forms of calcium -- one ounce of Swiss cheese has nearly as much calcium as a cup of milk. But cheese can be loaded with saturated fats, so choose low-fat and soft cheeses.