Cheese: Calcium Count

by ADA

Americans, especially teenage girls, women, and older adults, need to eat more foods that contain calcium. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of young women and teenage girls are not consuming enough calcium. And the time for greatest bone growth, which requires lots of calcium, begins in the teen years and extends to age 35.  

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How much calcium do you need?

According to the new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for calcium, preteens and teenagers need the most at 1,300 mg per day. Most adults need 1,000 mg. However, after age 50, adults should increase their calcium intake to 1,200 mg.

DAILY CALCIUM NEEDS1 oz.

4 to 8 years 800 mg
9 to 13 years 1,300 mg
14 to 18 years 1,300 mg
19 to 50 years 1,000 mg
51 to 70+ years 1,200 mg

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for selected age groups.

What are good calcium sources?

Make it a habit to include 2 to 3 servings or more from the milk, yogurt , and cheese group each day. An 8-ounce glass of milk-fat-free, low-fat, or whole--provides 300 mg of calcium. Cheese is an even more concentrated source. Just 1 oz. cup of shredded or 1 ounce of most hard cheeses adds 200 mg of calcium to meals and snacks. If you're counting fat grams, low-fat, light, or reduced-fat cheeses are a lower-fat, calcium-rich option.

Some other foods, such as beans, broccoli, and some leafy greens like kale and bok choy, also supply calcium. A number of food products, such as orange juice and breakfast cereal, are fortified with calcium.

How is physical activity related to strong bones?

A calcium-rich diet combined with regular weight-bearing exercise helps build and maintain strong bones. To strengthen all your bones, participate in a variety of physical activities. Walking, running, and in-line skating are beneficial activities, as are aerobics and weight lifting. Pick activities that you enjoy
and make it a goal to work them into your schedule at least three times a week.

Quick tips for boosting the calcium in your favorite foods

As you plan your daily meals and snacks, try to incorporate cheese and other milk products into some of your favorite dishes. By adding just 1 oz. cup of shredded cheese per serving to soups, stews, or salads, you will obtain 20 percent of the 1,000 mg calcium adults need each day or 15 percent of the calcium requirement for preteen and teenagers.

Try these quick ideas:

  • Sprinkle cup shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese on top of a split bagel or English muffin [low carb substitute: a slice of zucchini]. Microwave or heat in a toaster oven until melted. 
  • Top a baked potato with cup shredded cheddar cheese [low carb substitute: hard boiled egg's halves].
  • Add a handful of shredded or thin strips of cheese to a mixed green salad.
  • Make vegetable dips with plain yogurt or cottage cheese.

For more information
The American Dietetic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics.
ADA's Consumer Nutrition Information Line (800/366-1655) provides recorded messages with timely, practical nutrition information as well as referrals to registered dietitians. Messages are available 24 hours daily with new topics each month.

Sargento Foods Inc.
For more recipes and information on calcium, call 1-800/CHEESES (1-800/243-3737). Ask for department calcium. Or visit the Sargento Web site at http://www.sargento.com.

This fact sheet is supported by a grant from Sargento Foods Inc. Acceptance of this grant does not constitute an endorsement by ADA of any company's products or services.

ADAF 1997. Reproduction of this fact sheet is permitted for educational purposes.

 


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