by George E. Meinig, DDS, FACD
What should we eat in order to get needed calcium in our diet? One cup of milk yields 288 mg. of calcium. A cup of lima beans contains just half that amount while collards contain almost 100 mg. more than milk itself.
People generally feel quite guilty about not drinking milk. Many seem to feel there is no other source of calcium. As a matter of fact, most foods contain some calcium. Those with the highest values are almonds, having 361 mg. per cup, while other nuts run a little below 100. Fish is an excellent source having 328 mg. for 3 ounces of sardines, salmon 159, mackerel 157, and oysters have 226 mg. per cup.
Vegetables are not devoid of calcium, though the values are somewhat lower. Most beans run 100 to 125. Turnip greens run 376.
A cup of whole wheat flour has 49 mg. and one ounce cheddar cheese yields 206 mg. while cottage cheese in the same amount has only 27 mg.
Primitive man's source of calcium was fish and the bones of small animals. Most of these can be chewed, including fish bones, if small bites are taken. For the most part these are pleasing to one's taste. The ends of chicken bones are edible and soft enough to be easily chewed by most individuals.
From the above figures it should be apparent that the government's recommended daily allowance of 800 to 1,400 mg. of calcium can be obtained without the use of milk. There are a number of detrimental problems concerning milk[pasteurized and homogenized]. In brief, if one insists on using it we only recommend raw certified milk or cream or raw from a source that can be trusted for quality.
Most people in other areas of the world who have had long healthy lives have not used milk as such but have usually used cultured products such as yogurts, buttermilk, cheeses, etc. The action of bacteria in dairy products changes numbers of the detrimental properties inherent in straight milk products.