Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Counting Calcium- Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Dip

I’ve been counting calcium milligrams lately.   Partly because it was my assignment for week 10 of the New American Plate Challenge, and partly because I recently found out I’m developing osteopenia, which means my bones are getting too thin.  I’m not really surprised about the thin bones.  Everything about me is pretty thin, including my bones.  I occasionally make jewelry, and I realized that I have the same sized wrist as a seven year old :(.  I’ve always been a small girl, can’t really help it.  When I gain weight, it never goes to my wrists, or ankles, or spine, or hip (those are the areas that are thinning) only my stomach, which although not huge, is unfortunately, not thin.

When I was little, my mom would force me to drink my milk.  I. Hated. It.  The thought of drinking a glass of milk still makes me gag.  That’s probably why I have thin bones.  It was actually my hatred of milk, and lack of calcium that made me reconsider my career and go back to school to study nutrition.  I was pregnant with my daughter, and I realized why calcium is important, and that there are other ways to get it, besides the dreaded milk.  Hooray! Better late than never, so now I count my calcium.  And eat lots of yogurt.

In addition to helping to build strong bones, calcium, is also important for lots of other things. It plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, and it may be helpful in preventing diabetes, reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly helping with weight loss.  However, too much calcium, especially if taken in supplement form, may be harmful to you heart, and may be associated with increased risk for prostate cancer.


So the goal of my NAP challenge for last week was to aim for calcium balance – not too little but not too much either.  The goal for women ages 19-50 is to get 1,000 mg per day, and those over 50 should get 1,200 mg per day.  Men ages 19-70 need 1,000 mg per day, and men over 70 should get up to 1,200 mg daily.  These recommendations for calcium translate to consuming 2 1/2 to 3 servings of dairy or other calcium-rich foods each day –the challenge for week 10.

Of course milk (cow, soy, or other fortified non dairy milk) is a great source of calcium, but luckily for me, so is yogurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, leafy greens, and beans.  I still won’t drink a glass of plain milk, but I’ve come to love a good 8 oz serving in my latte every morning, and I try to get at least 6 oz in my oatmeal.  That, plus some yogurt, and fortified orange juice most days gets me pretty close to what is recommended.  I get the rest from my Adora dark chocolate calcium supplement.  Dessert 🙂

The American Institute for Cancer Research has put together a helpful list of foods and their calcium values, as well as the percent of your daily value, so you can add up what you eat and see how close you come to the recommendation.

Food Sources of Calcium

Food Milligrams (mg) per serving Percent DV
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces 415 42
Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces 333 33
Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces 325 33
Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces 313–384 31–38
Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces 307 31
Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces 299 30
Soymilk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces 299 30
Milk, buttermilk, low fat, 8 ounces 284 28
Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces 261 26
Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup 253 25
Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces 181 18
Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup 138 14
Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup 138 14
Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup 103 10
Turnip greens, fresh, boiled, ½ cup 99 10
Kale, raw, chopped, 1 cup 100 10
Kale, fresh, cooked, 1 cup 94 9
Chinese cabbage, bok choi, raw, shredded, 1 cup 74 7
Tortilla, corn, one 6″ diameter 46 5
Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice 30 3
Broccoli, raw, ½ cup 21 2

Credit: Adapted from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/

As I’ve mentioned before, Greek yogurt has become one of my favorite foods, and a go-to ingredient for so many of my recipes.  This dip is a delicious way to sneak some extra calcium into your diet.  Try it with fresh veggies as a snack, or as a sandwich spread.

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Dip|Craving Something Healthy

Roasted Red Pepper and Sundried Tomato Dip

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup jarred sun dried tomatoes in herbs, drained
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Place first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh vegetables, crackers or pita bread OR as a sandwich spread.

Keep refrigerated and this should last for up to 1 week.

http://cravingsomethinghealthy.com/counting-calcium-roasted-red-pepper-and-sun-dried-tomato-dip/

 

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Dip|Craving Something Healthy

Do you get enough calcium in your diet?  If not, do you remember to take a supplement?

 

Eat well!

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