The Calcium Conundrum
One of the things that I think is important to understand is that the dairy industry has lots of moolah--plenty of it to spend on promoting their products and making us believe that they are the best and only source for calcium. It's a joke.
A 12-year, Harvard University study has made some remarkable advances in the calcium conundrum and what they found was that there may not be a relationship between consuming large amounts of calcium and bone strength. For strong, healthy bones, we need to reduce our animal protein and salt intake and increase the amount of weight-bearing exercise. (You knew there was a catch, right? ;) )
"It's helpful to remember that plant foods containing calcium are loaded with other important components, such as vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting antioxidants and dietary fiber. (Fiber is entirely absent from dairy products and all other animal-source foods.)"-CalciYum! cookbook
Then we come to calcium absorption: All foods that contain calcium will be absorbed differently--some more than others. For example, calcium in green vegetables is thought to be better absorbed than that contained in dairy products, whereas caclium from dry beans (legumes) may not be absorbed as well as that in green vegetables. Dairy products are thought to actually leach out calcium from your bones, therefore, requiring more servings of dairy products to reach the recommended amount. Why do you think it requires 3 servings of dairy products to get the same amount of calcium in 1 serving of vegetables?! It's more money in the already deep, deep pockets of the dairy industry folks.
Fortified, non-dairy milk has anywhere from 150mg to 500mg of calcium per 1 cup! Tofu is loaded with calcium (and protein) with up to 270mg per 1/2 a cup. Drink calcium fortified OJ and also receive a dose of vitamin C! Snack on 1 cup of almonds and get a whopping 377mg of calcium! And don't forget your Tums...they're not just for digestive upset. They are a great calcium supplement, providing 800mg per serving (2). They come in assorted fruit flavors, so they don't taste like you're eating chalk!
So don't fret about not getting enough calcium because as long as you're eating your veggies, other calcium fortified products and pumping a bit of iron, you're probably getting more than enough. And let's not forget that dairy products are linked to allergies, cataracts, infertility and cancer. They are also high in sodium which is a major factor in the onset of high blood pressure.
Check out this site for some additional information: http://www.soystache.com/calcium.htm
And check out one of my old posts that has a brief list of calcium-rich foods that contain no dairy: http://the-dairy-free-diva-recipe-exchange.yumsugar.com/482866 pics: ehpea.org and whenharrymetsalad.wordpress.com