Make Your Next Meal Healthier
Your Current Breakfast: Raisin bran cereal with reduced-fat milk
Why It's Good: A cup of raisin bran packs in about a quarter of your fiber and folic acid needs and half your iron quota for about 200 calories. The milk adds protein, B vitamins, and, of course, calcium.
The Catch: Excess fiber can interfere with the absorption of calcium by pushing food through the digestive tract too rapidly for the mineral to be absorbed.Make It Over
- Include a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice with your breakfast. The vitamin C and acidity may boost your body's ability to absorb calcium. A tip: Calcium may settle in the container, so shake well before pouring.
- Add an extra dairy serving later in the day.
- If you're a vegetarian, take a supplement. "Leafy greens, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes, including soy, contain compounds called phytates and oxalates, which bind with calcium, preventing your cells from getting access to it," explains Dave Grotto, RD, a Chicago-based spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. In fact, up to 95 percent of the calcium in spinach is blocked by oxalates. Instead, choose cauliflower and other "smelly" vegetables. "They may contain less calcium, but it's better absorbed by your body," explains Grotto.
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