So,Calcium is a very important nutrient for the normal development and maintenance of our bones. As a result, 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. However, the remaining 1% distributed in the body is responsible for a wide range of other health benefits. These include the prevention of blood clots, muscle functioning, regulating blood pressure and fluid balance. Calcium is a nutrient that can be lacking in a low FODMAP diet due to dairy being the best food source. So, are you making sure you’re getting your calcium needs on a Low FODMAP diet? Below are the recommended daily calcium requirements based on age and gender. It is critical to build strong healthy bones in the teen and early adult years to prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones) by the age of 60.
|Age (years)||Female RDI (mg/day)||Male RDI (mg/day)|
Calcium Content in 3 Food Groups:
Dairy and dairy alternatives
Although dairy products are a rich source of calcium, the main sugar component of such foods is lactose. Lactose is a type of FODMAP that can be poorly absorbed, causing side effects such as diarrhoea and cramps. For those with IBS, lactose containing products are restricted during the elimination phase of a low FODMAP diet. However, it is important to consume lactose free dairy alternatives while on a Low FODMAP diet to get your calcium needs. This includes products such as lactose-free milk, lactose-free yoghurt and most cheese.
For vegans and vegetarians, milk alternatives such as almond and soy can be a great source of calcium. However, it is important to choose options which are fortified with >100mg of calcium per 100ml. Also, for soy milk ensure you choose those made from soy protein, not soy beans.
Dark green leafy vegetables are another source of calcium. So, try adding collard greens, spinach, kale, broccoli and beans to your meals as part of a low FODMAP diet. However, be sure to stick to safe portion sizes.
Meat and meat alternatives
Fish that have edible bones are a rich source of calcium. These include tinned salmon, sardines and anchovies. For example, a can of sardines in oil contains 240mg of calcium which meets 25% of the RDI for 19-50-year olds.
Firm tofu is also another great source of calcium. Calcium is a firming agent used to make firm tofu. So, look at the ingredient list to ensure calcium was utilised in the tofu you purchase. Also remember, a Low FODMAP serve of firm tofu is 160g which contains ~1090mg of calcium.
Although you might have adequate sources of calcium rich foods as part of your diet, bioavailability of calcium varies between foods. Click here to read more on calcium absorption.
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Catherine Saxelby’s Complete food and nutrition companion
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