Have You Ever Wondered

. . . if calcium supplements or calcium-fortified foods can substitute for dairy foods? For most people, fortified foods and supplements are meant to supplement, not replace, foods with naturally occurring calcium.

Although they may fill the calcium gap, supplements and calcium-fortified foods (such as in some juice, cereal, pasta, and rice) don't supply all the other health-promoting nutrients and food substances found in dairy foods. Besides calcium, Milk Group foods are key sources of protein, vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), B]2, and D (if fortified) and the minerals phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Beyond that, dairy foods offer substances with potential functional benefits: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), sphingolipid, and butyric acid, which may help protect you from some cancers and other health conditions. For more about CLA, see "Functional Nutrition: Eat Your Omega-3s and -6s" in chapter 3. See page 265 for more about calcium-fortified soy beverages.

You can overdo calcium if you regularly consume calcium-fortified juice and/or calcium-fortified breakfast cereal-and take a calcium supplement as "insurance." What's the downside? Too much calcium, most likely from fortified foods and supplements, may limit the absorption of iron and zinc, two minerals that often come up short for many Americans.

. . . if eggs count as a calcium-rich dairy food? Although they're typically sold in the dairy case, eggs aren't a dairy food! Since you don't eat the shell (your body can't use that form of calcium), eggs supply very little calcium.

More than Bone Health!

Looking for ways to stay healthy? Bone-building benefits are just one reason to make calcium a smart-eating priority! Like other nutrients, calcium is well known for "multitasking."

Daily "Chores" Although used in just a small amount, calcium helps your muscles contract, your heart beat, your blood clot, and your nervous system send messages. These functions are vital to your health.

More Protection. Calcium appears to play an important role in promoting health and protecting you from several health risks that begin to appear in midlife.

• Calcium helps your blood pressure. The good news: research shows that a low-fat diet with low-fat

Maintaining The Body

Maintaining The Body

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