Vitamins and Calcium in Milk.
Milk is an essential food for the growth of babies and children. It contains protein, vitamins and calcium. However, in case of milk allergy it must be avoided to prevent painful symptoms. Milk alternatives should be found to make sure of the normal growth and development of the child.
Milk is rich in protein, calcium and Vitamins A and B and it is important to insure an adequate intake of these elements when on an dairy-free diet.
Soya is rich in protein, and other foods of importance in a dairy-free diet are potatoes, vegetable oil and fish. Cod liver oil or fish oils are rich in vitamin A. Calcium is found in sardines, watercress, figs, rhubarb, almonds and other nuts. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a good source and vitamins and minerals (especially important for children for the formation of strong, healthy teeth and bones).
There are a number of other milks that are available that may be substituted for cow's milk when baking or cooking. The type of substitute used will depend on the type of food it is used for.
Rice milk is good for drinking and putting on cereal. It can also be used when baking or as a thickening agent. In some recipes water, broth, or juice can be substituted for the cow's milk.
Sometimes, a milk allergic person can use goat's milk or soy milk. Both of these milks, however, are also very allergenic. In fact, most people allergic to cow's milk are also allergic to goat's milk.
Persons with lactose intolerance should only use milk if treated with Lactase Enzyme liquid and should never use untreated goat’s milk as it also contains lactose. Lactose is present in all animal's milk.
Osteoporosis, or premature bone loss, is one of the major public health problems in the modern world. As more women opt to have their babies later in their life it is expected to become an even bigger problem in the next few decades. Bones are living growing tissues that need plenty of calcium for growth and repair. Dairy products are the major sources of calcium in the diet. Guidelines for calcium intake vary from one country to another, but it is recommended that all adults strive for around 1000 mg. of calcium in their diets every day. Pregnant and post menopausal women need even more. This requires at least 4 servings every day of low-fat dairy product such as low-fat milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese , etc.
Lactose intolerant person who opt not to supplement their diet with lactase enzyme need to find other sources of calcium. Yoghurt and buttermilk are worth trying, particularly if you only have a slight lactose intolerance. They are both low in lactose and also low in fat and calories. As a group, cheeses have less lactose than milk, especially the naturally aged cheeses. Lactose free cheeses are also available.
Non-dairy sources of calcium are often very helpful. One can find commercially prepared non dairy drinks, such as juices fortified with calcium. Calcium rich vegetable include the dark green vegetable such as broccoli, kale and collard greens. It is interesting to know that spinach is rich in calcium but unfortunately it is in the indigestible form. Read about food containing calcium below.
The UK Department of Health recommended Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for calcium is as follows. The RNI is a daily amount that is enough or more than enough for 97% of people. The RNI is similar to the Recommended Daily Amount used previously in the UK.
|Age/Sex||Calcium requirement (mg/day) UK|
|Infants & children, depending on age||350-550|
|Adult men & women||700|
|Breast-feeding women||extra 550|
The 1989 US recommendations are generally slightly higher. In 1994 the US recommendations for children aged 1-10 was increased from 800mg to 1,200mg daily and for young adults aged 11-24 years it was increased from 1,200 to 1,500mg. During pregnancy and breast feeding women in the USA are now advised to have 1,400mg calcium daily and American men and women over the age of 50 years are advised to increased their calcium intake towards 1,500mg because the intestinal absorption of calcium declines with age.
Calcium in our diet
Milk and other dairy products are a major source of nutrients in the human diet. The most important of these nutrients is calcium. Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones throughout life. In the middle and later years, a shortage of calcium may lead to thin, fragile bones that break easily (a condition called osteoporosis). A concern, then, for both children and adults with lactose intolerance, is getting enough calcium in a diet that includes little or no milk. In planning meals, making sure that each day's diet includes enough calcium is important, even if the diet does not contain dairy products. Many non-dairy foods are high in calcium. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, and fish with soft, edible bones, such as salmon and sardines, are excellent sources of calcium. To help in planning a high-calcium and low-lactose diet, the table below lists some common foods that are good sources of dietary calcium and shows about how much lactose the foods contain.
Examples of amounts of foods providing good portions of calcium
|Type of Fod||Calcium Content|
|Broccoli (cooked 1 Cup)||94-177mg|
|Chinese Cabbage (cooked 1 cup)||158mg|
|Collard Greens (cooked 1 cup)||148-357mg|
|Kale (cooked 1 cup)||94-179mg|
|Oysters (raw 1 cup)||226mg|
|Salmon canned with bones||167mg|
|Shrimp canned 100g||98mg|
|Molasses 2 tbsp||274mg|
|Tofu processed with calcium salts, 100g||225mg|
|Dried figs 40g||100mg|
|Brazil nuts 60g||100mg|
|Artichokes, broccoli and cabbages are rich in calcium.|
Recent research shows that yoghourt with active cultures may be a good source of calcium for many people with lactose intolerance, even though it is fairly high in lactose. Evidence shows that the bacterial cultures used in making yoghourt produce some of the lactase enzyme required for proper digestion. Clearly, many foods can provide the calcium and other nutrients the body needs, even when intake of milk and dairy products is limited. However, factors other than calcium and lactose content should be kept in mind when planning a diet.
Some vegetables that are high in calcium (Swiss chard, spinach, and rhubarb, for instance) are not listed in the table above because the body cannot use their calcium content. They contain substances called oxalates, which stop calcium absorption. Calcium is absorbed and used only when there is enough vitamin D in the body. A balanced diet should provide an adequate supply of vitamin D. Sources of vitamin D include eggs and liver. However, sunlight helps the body naturally absorb or synthesize vitamin D, and with enough exposure to the sun, food sources may not be necessary. Some people with lactose intolerance may think they are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet. Consultation with a doctor or dietician may be helpful in deciding whether any dietary supplements are needed. Taking vitamins or minerals of the wrong kind or in the wrong amounts can be harmful. A dietician can help in planning meals that will provide the most nutrients with the least chance of causing discomfort.
Milk substitutes for cooking
There are a number of other milks that are available that may be substituted for cow's milk when baking or cooking. The type of substitute used will depend on the type of food it is used for. Rice milk is good for drinking and putting on cereal. It can also be used when baking or as a thickening agent. In some recipes water, broth, or juice can be substituted for the cow's milk. Sometimes, a milk allergic person can use goat's milk or soy milk. Both of these milks, however, are also very allergenic.
Alternatively, for lactose intolerant person, ordinary cows' milk (or any other milk) can be treated with Lactase Enzyme liquid and used as normal. Please visit the products page for Lactase Enzyme liquid.