Mineral Spotlight: Calcium

Calcium.  A mineral that causes most of us to think of these two key words:  bones & milk.  True, calcium intake does impact bone strength, however there are several other minerals that are important in bone strength as well- vitamin D and phosphorus to name a few.  But our star is calcium today.  Milk is an excellent source of calcium, but not everyone can tolerate milk.  Unflavored milk is a required component for child based food programs.

While calcium IS important for bone health, it is also important for several other functions in our body, including: nerve impulse communication, muscle contraction, creation and function of blood cells and the clotting of blood.  It also plays a key role in digestion.  The nerves in our digestive tract rely on calcium to communicate with each other to regulate digestion.

While milk is an excellent source of calcium, there are other amazing foods out there that can help increase your calcium intake as well.  These include: Cheese, yogurt, some leafy greens, broccoli, almonds, beans and lentils and sesame seeds.  Continue to encourage the population that you feed to not only drink their milk, but eat their veggies, beans and grains as well =)

 



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