5 Unusual Sources for Tooth-Strengthening Calcium and Vitamin D

According to both the Institute of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, you’re probably not getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

Most people know dairy products and sunlight are the primary sources for these nutrients, but there are other lesser known natural sources available.

Recently, the Institute of Medicine found that the average adult needs 800mg of calcium and 400 IUs of vitamin D daily.  Adolescents and seniors often require more to aid bone growth and prevent bone loss.

To find out how much you need, have your physician test your blood.  A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test gives an individual recommendation since factors such as skin tone, amount of sunlight, and lifestyle vary from person to person.

Dairy and Sunlight Alternatives for Dental Health:

1. Mushrooms

There are very few foods that provide vitamin D. Most of your consumption of this vitamin occurs in the skin.  You need about 15 minutes of sun exposure a day for your body to produce the right amounts of the vitamin, according to the New York Times. However, mushrooms such as shiitakes can be found fortified with vitamin D when grown in ultraviolet light, says the National Institute of Health. They’re like the Hulk of mushrooms.  One serving contains about 25% of the RDI for vitamin D.

2. Molasses

Replace that table sugar with some old-fashioned blackstrap molasses, an excellent (and unexpected) source of calcium.  In fact, one tablespoon contains 172 mg!  If you need a sweet treat, try molasses cookies dunked in a glass of calcium and vitamin D fortified soymilk.  Just like regular sugar, sticky molasses can cause tooth decay so be sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating.

3. Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices can also pack some surprise calcium punches. Cinnamon and peppermint contain calcium, as does dill weed (a common garnish for fish), basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and fennel.  While it takes about a tablespoon for the amount of calcium in each herb to make a sizeable dent in your daily intake requirements, it’s a tastier and healthier alternative for seasoning meals.

4. Fish

Seafood lovers can put a checkmark next to calcium and vitamin D on their daily recommended intake list.  You even have options.  Three ounces of sardines contain 325 mg calcium and 225 IUs vitamin D.  Salmon contains 225mg calcium in a 3 to 4 ounce serving.  Tuna, perch, clams, trout, and crab are also full of calcium.

5. Beans

Take a little Gas-X and fill your plate with beans to make your bones strong.  A half cup of soybeans contains 120 mg calcium. You can make a big batch of white chili with calcium-packed white beans, top it with sour cream and all natural cheddar cheese for a calcium triple threat.

Many of these may already be staples of your diet, but it’s best to visit with your doctor to find out what your specific dietary deficiencies (if any) are and how much calcium and vitamin D is right for you.

Robert Milton writes for Austin Dental Center, an Austin dentist who keeps their neighbors smiling with preventative care, restorative treatments, and cosmetic procedures. You can find them at Austin Dental Center PC, 2304 Hancock Drive #1, Austin, TX 78756, Phone: (512) 454-0414.

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