Calcium & Iron - Are You Getting Enough?

Growing children, teenage girls, and women have higher needs for some nutrients. Many women and adolescent girls need to eat more calcium-rich foods to get the calcium needed for healthy bones throughout life. By selecting low-fat or fat-free dairy items and other low-fat calcium sources, they can obtain adequate calcium and keep fat intake from being too high. Young children, teenage girls, and women of childbearing age should also eat enough iron -rich foods, such as lean meats and whole-grain or enriched white bread to keep the body's iron stores at adequate levels. Below are some recommended foods high in calcium and iron to assure you are getting adequate amounts of these important minerals in your diet (especially if you are counting calories!)

Good Sources of Calcium

  • Milk and dishes made with milk, such as potato soup, puddings
  • Cheeses like mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan
  • Yogurt
  • Canned fish with soft bones such as sardines, anchovies or salmon.
  • Leafy greens of the cabbage family, such as kale, mustard greens, and turnip tops, and pak choi.
  • Tofu, if processed with calcium sulfate (make sure to read the label)
  • Tortillas made from lime-processed corn (make sure to read the label)

Note about dairy group - Some foods in this group are high in fat or cholesterol or both. Choose lower fat and cholesterol foods most often.

Some Good Sources of Iron

  • Meats -- beef, pork, and lamb and especially liver and other organ meats!
  • Poultry -- chicken, duck, and turkey, especially liver and dark meat!
  • Fish -- shellfish, like clams, mussels, and oysters; sardines; anchovies; and other fish!
  • Leafy greens of the cabbage family, such as broccoli, kale, turnip greens, collards; lima beans, green peas; dry beans and peas, such as pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and canned baked beans
  • Yeast-leavened whole wheat bread and rolls
  • Iron-enriched white bread, pasta, rice, and cereals. Read the labels.

Note about meat, poultry and fish: Some foods in these categories are high in fat or cholesterol or both. Choose lean, lower fat and lower cholesterol foods most often.

For much more about essential vitamins and minerals, please visit the Vitamins and Calcium Supplements Center.

Source: National Agriculture Library (http://www.nal.usda.gov/)


Last Editorial Review: 12/21/2001



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