Dairy is the best source for calcium in humans. Approximately 75% of all the calcium we consume in our diet comes from dairy products. Dairy, aside from calcium, also provides healthy levels of protein, potassium, phosphorous and other vitamins. Dairy is also a good source of Vitamin D and combined with calcium, this helps maintain good bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential in regulating numerous functions in our body.
Dairy products generally comes from cow or buffalo milk products such as cheeses, milk and milk products and yogurt. The US Department of Agriculture does not count products that have very little to no calcium as dairy, like butters, cream and cream cheese. Calcium can be derived from other food sources, but not in the same quantities as those found in dairy products. Skimping totally on dairy can mean that adults do not get the proper levels of calcium needed by the body.
When it comes to choosing dairy products, it’s best to check the label and choose low fat or nonfat dairy. People who want to lose weight should stick to nonfat, but a little fat in anybody’s diet will not hurt. Low fat and nonfat dairy have less saturated fats which make it beneficial to health. Lowered intake of saturated fats will help the body lower blood pressure, a risk factor in cardiovascular diseases. Lower saturated fats also mean lesser bad cholesterols.
Your dairy requirements can come from the following food sources: milk, flavored milks, milk shakes or lactose free milks. It can also come from all sorts of cheeses like parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese. It can likewise be taken from desserts such as yogurt, ice cream or milk based puddings.
Many people are lactose intolerant so they have to be careful about the food products they consume. There are lactose free milk available for such people, or if they still cannot stand the thought of consuming milk, yogurt is available. There are several beverage options that are also calcium fortified such as soy milk products or rice milk products, and even certain fruit juices.