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Eating foods rich in calcium is a better method to strengthen your bones than taking calcium supplements alone.
In the study, women who consumed an average of 800 mg of calcium per day in the foods they ate had higher Bone-Mineral Densities than women who took 1000 mg of calcium in supplement form.
If you’re going to choose one or the other, food appears to be the winner. However, a combination of both food and supplements appears to offer the greatest overall benefit. Women who got at least 70 percent of their calcium from food and took calcium supplements in a combination of 1600 mg of calcium per day had the highest Bone Mineral Densities of all. Balance between Food and Supplement is the key.
What does this mean to a bariatric patient? It means that we need to pay attention to what we eat and choose foods that contain calcium. Instead of a sugar free pudding cup, choose a half cup of yogurt with a few mashed berries to satisfy that afternoon craving for a snack – in addition to adding probiotics and great health, it adds over 200 mg of calcium to our day. This does not include processed dessert type yogurts – choose a real yogurt such as Dannon or Stonyfield, or Greek yogurt such as Fage or Oikos that contains calcium plus nearly twice the protein.
Have a cup of skim milk each day that adds over 400 mg of calcium to your bottom line and costs you just 100 calories. Many in the bariatric community used to adhere to the belief that milk was bad for a bariatric patient – but in light of soarding numbers presenting serious calcium deficiencies, it is obvious that we need to consider balance in choosing our foods. Drinking an eight ounce glass of skim or 1% milk in order to take in 400mg of calcium, plus vitamin D is a smart choice – look at what you get for what you spend!
Instead of iceberg lettuce or even romaine – choose spinach, as 2 cups of baby spinach gives the body 200 mg of calcium and offers tender leaves and great taste. The popular SML version of Baked Vanilla Egg Custards published in Before & After, is a food rich in calcium that is as delicious as it is healthy. Buy Vitamin E enriched eggs to boot!
Pay attention to the foods you choose to eat as small changes make a big difference. We absorb the vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables differently than when they are synthesized in supplements – as they contain organic compounds that interact with the micronutrients and the body in ways we are just beginning to understand.
Calcium is not a joke! After breaking my leg in our motorcycle accident a few years ago and discovering that even with all the supplements I took that I had vitamin D and calcium deficiencies, I knew I needed to make serious changes. I plan on living a lot of years and my bones need to carry me there. Sure supplements are important but it appears that the calcium rich foods that we eat count as much as or even more than pills!