Orange Juice or Milk?

Milk Calcium vs. Orange Juice Calcium

Is the calcium you get from supplements or fortified orange juice absorbed as well as the calcium from milk? Scientists at Tuft’s Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory say, “Yes”.

The results of an experiment done by Tuft’s showed that blood and urine tests proved that calcium from all three sources was equally absorbed.  This is good news, especially for people who do not like or cannot drink milk. A glass of orange juice can make up for the milk many people get in their daily morning cereal.

Reduce Dairy Fat with Low Fat Milk

However, it is worthy to note that this doesn’t make the three calcium sources nutritional equals.

Milk, for example, contains protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus. Orange juice has vitamin C and folate. Supplements are great if you need to get calcium, but overall, it is always best to get it in food if possible.

In other words, building a healthful diet is not just about getting enough calcium. It is important to construct and eating plan with a wealth of vitamins and minerals, which is why fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat dairy and other low-fat protein sources should all be figured in.

Since fruits are a favorite among many and rightfully so, how about a very enjoyable, refreshing fruit treat? And since we can’t leave out all-important vegetables, consider the quick recipes below the fruit-sweet treat.

Island Party Kabobs Recipe

Star Fruit  Sweet orange for Orange juice
Oranges (but not if too juicy)
Kiwifruit Slices
Assorted Melons

Assemble on kabob sticks and serve. Chill in the refrigerator before serving for a tasty cooler on a hot summer day.

Veggie UP Tuna or Egg Salad

Let’s not forget our vegetables!

Serve tuna or egg salad a new way by cutting off the top of a hard roll,  hollowing  it out and filling it with the salad. Add fresh onion, tomato and lettuce and put the top back on. Enjoy.

Chili Bean Pita Pizzas

Black beans, corn, plum tomato and green chilies in a pita. This one packs a wallop of vegetable goodness!

Spread 1/4-cup fat free salsa over two small (6-inch) unopened pitas. Divide 1/2-cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1 chopped plum tomato, and 1-tablespoon chopped green chilies between the two pitas.  Top with 1-1/2-ounce 2-percent Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake in a 450-degree oven for eight to ten minutes.

Calcium Is Important.

Calcium Is Important.

Ninety eight percent of all calcium in your body is stored in your bones. Calcium is important for many reasons, most importantly:

  • Gives strength to your body’s skeletal system and teeth.

    Calcium rich dairy products.
    Calcium rich dairy products.
  • Protects from osteoporosis, the fourth leading cause of death
    for women.
  • Lowers blood pressure and regulates heart functions.
  • Strengthens teeth and helps prevent gum disease.
  • Stimulates fat-burning enzymes that regulate weight.
  • Raises ‘good’ cholesterol levels and lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol
  • May slow or stop the formation of cataracts.
  • Helps stabilize our mood by stimulating certain hormones.
  • Prevents painful muscle cramps.

Deficiency is a major problem in the US, where over 90 percent of all women receive less than half of their recommended dietary allowance of calcium. Over 98 percent of the calcium your body is stored in bones, where it is used to give bones their strength. If your diet’s calcium level is low, your body must draw on your bones to replace the lost calcium in your bloodstream. This can lead to more cavities, bone fractures, and even bone deformations such as rickets.

Problems Created From Deficiency 

  • Osteoporosis, the weakening of bones. More women die from Osteoporosis than breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, and cancer of the uterus combined!
  • There is a suggested link between calcium deficiency and colon cancer.
  • Hypertension.
  • High Blood Pressure.

Only approximately 25 percent of the calcium we consume each day is utilized due to the interference of other nutrients in absorption. Try to avoid excessive amounts of these guys:

  • Salt. Just one teaspoon a day can cause a 1.5 percent loss in bone density each year!
  • Caffeine. More than three cups of coffee (about 350mg) has been shown to contribute to bone loss by encouraging the bloodstream to flush calcium from your system.
  • Fat. Too much fat in the bloodstream can combine with calcium and block its absorption.
  • Alcohol. More than two alcoholic drinks can disrupt your body’s ability to absorb calcium and encourage your body to flush it from your system.
  • Phosphoric Acid. This is usually found in sodas, and causes the body to flush calcium from the bloodstream and out of the body.
  • Oxalic Acid or Phytic Acid. Found in spinach, beets, turnips, and green beans, they block 95 percent of the calcium in these foods (which on a chart look like they are high in calcium) from being absorbed.

Vitamins that help calcium.

  • Vitamin D. It helps the body absorb calcium from food going through the digestive system, and helps the kidneys in maintaining a proper level of calcium in the bloodstream. Additionally, Vitamin D can help the body cope with periods of low calcium intake.
  • Vitamin C. It improves calcium absorption in the body.
  • Magnesium. It works along with calcium to build stronger bones and regulates how calcium is used in some parts of the body.
  • Potassium. It works as a team with calcium and magnesium in some of the body’s functions, like blood pressure.
  • Zinc. Your body needs zinc to use nutrients for immunity, for wound healing and for maintaining your senses of taste and smell.

Recommended Dietary Allowances

The USRDA (now RDI) for Calcium is 1000mg. The NIH’s Recommended Levels are:

Age Levels
Birth to 6 Months 400mg
6 Months to 1 Year 600mg
Children 1 to 5 Years 800mg
Children 6 to 10 Years 800 to 1200mg
11 to 24 Years 1200 to 1500mg
Pregnant Teens 2000mg
Pregnant Women 1200 to 1500mg
Premenopausal Women 1000mg
Postmenopausal Women 1000mg
Men 25 to 65 1000mg
Men over 65 1500mg

Excellent sources of calcium:

  • Skim Milk! A glass of skim milk has about 300mg.
  • Yogurt. Nonfat yogurt can have as much as 500mg.
  • Waffles. One waffle usually contains around 170mg.
  • Tofu. Half a cup of tofu contains about 430mg.

Reference: Kaye, Edita M. Bone Builders. New York: Warner Books