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Calcium and Healthful Diets

According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “nutrient needs should be met primarily through consuming foods. Foods provide an array of nutrients and other compounds that may have beneficial effects on health. In certain cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful sources of one or more nutrients that otherwise might be consumed in less than recommended amounts. However, dietary supplements, while recommended in some cases, cannot replace a healthful diet.”

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet as one that:

Emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

Many dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are rich sources of calcium. Some vegetables provide significant amounts of calcium, as do some fortified cereals and juices.

Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

Tofu made with calcium salts is a good source of calcium (check the label), as are canned sardines and canned salmon with edible bones.

Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Low-fat and nonfat dairy products provide amounts of calcium that are roughly similar to the amounts in their full-fat versions.

Stays within your daily calorie needs.

For more information about building a healthful diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food guidance system, MyPyramid.

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