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You don't need dairy

Hopefully, most of us know that calcium is an essential mineral that we need for bone strength. However it also plays roles in blood clotting and blood pressure maintenance. Calcium is in fact, needed by every cell in the body.

However, it is common for adults to be mildly to moderately lactose intolerant. It doesn't have to be a life changing issue - most people can tolerate some dairy still, in particular hard yellow cheese and yoghurts because they are much lower in lactose than say, a glass of milk. Having said all of that, there's also a growing camp of people who choose not to consume dairy for ethical reasons, believe we don't need dairy, find that even a small amount of dairy gives them unpleasant symptoms, or simply don't enjoy it. All of which are completely fine. Except it is important to remember that calcium is still an essential mineral in our diet. The recommendation is that teenagers up to the age of 18 consume 1,300mg per day, adults up to the age of 50 years consume 1,000mg per day, and women over 50 (and men over 70) consume 1,300mg per day.

While 1 cup (250mL) of full fat milk contains approximately 120mg of calcium, there are plenty of other ways to get calcium from your diet without consuming dairy. Some examples are:

  • 100g of firm tofu - 330mg of calcium
  • 100g of sardines - 440mg of calcium
  • 100g of tinned salmon - 180mg of calcium
  • 10 brazil nuts - 53mg of calcium
  • 100g raw broccoli - 33mg of calcium
  • 6 dried figs - 160mg of calcium

So if you or your family are lactose intolerant or choose not to eat dairy, there are plenty of options for meeting your calcium requirements and staying healthy. You don't need to consume dairy products. And my list is by no means extensive!

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