Can we re­place milk in our diet? Let’s find out

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - An­jali Muk­er­jee, Nu­tri­tion­ist

We know that milk is rich in calcium and es­sen­tial to strengthen our bones. But is it pos­si­ble to get ad­e­quate amounts of calcium from sources other than milk? Calcium is present in many more nat­u­ral food items than peo­ple are aware of, but be­ing a fussy min­eral, it does not get ab­sorbed eas­ily. Get­ting ad­e­quate calcium isn’t as easy as drink­ing a glass of milk. This is be­cause as we age, our di­ges­tion be­comes less ef­fi­cient. Also, ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of non-veg­e­tar­ian food, caf­feine and al­co­hol messes with our calcium in­take.

QUAL­ITY OF MILK

Add to that the fact that to­day, we have to deal with is­sues such as adul­ter­ated milk and un­healthy ad­di­tives in milk. And to make mat­ters worse, more and more ur­ban In­di­ans are be­com­ing lac­tose in­tol­er­ant (in­abil­ity to di­gest milk).

SO, WHAT ARE THE AL­TER­NA­TIVES?

Drink a glass of juice made of six raw car­rots and 50gm of spinach ev­ery day. It con­tains ap­prox­i­mately 300mg of calcium as com­pared to the 240mg present in 200ml of cow’s milk. It also helps im­prove one’s eye­sight, pu­ri­fies the blood and re­lieves con­sti­pa­tion, among other ben­e­fits. Whole pulses such as kid­ney beans, chick­peas and horse gram, have 200 to 250mg of calcium per 100gm. Be­sides ful­fill­ing your calcium needs, these pulses are highly ben­e­fi­cial in con­trol­ling blood sugar, choles­terol and triglyc­erides. Both white and black sesame seeds are rich in calcium. Eat about 2-4tsp daily if you want to avoid milk. 100gm of sesame seeds con­tain 1400mg of calcium. You can also make a paste of sesame seeds by grind­ing them with fresh co­conut, a pinch of salt and jag­gery. Drink­ing two glasses of soya milk daily will not only pro­vide you with ad­e­quate calcium, but also give you the much needed isoflavones, which help pre­vent os­teo­poro­sis. Snack­ing on soya nuts helps the calcium to trickle in through the day, as 100gm of these nuts con­tain 240mg of calcium. Now, that you know this, rest as­sured that you can im­prove your calcium in­take, with­out de­pend­ing on milk.

PHOTO: ISTOCK; FOR REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIONAL PUR­POSES ONLY

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