Q: I can’t tolerate milk products. What nutrients am I missing and what can I do to replace them other than taking supplements?
– Gity in New York
A: A person is hard-pressed to meet calcium needs (1,000 mg to 1,200 mg/day) when milk is avoided. At 300 milligrams a glass, no other food comes close to this level of calcium, except calcium-fortified soymilk and orange juice. Moderate sources include: canned salmon with bones (167 mg/3 ounces), cooked collard greens (145 mg/1 /2 cup), cooked spinach (106 mg/1 /2 cup), and cooked dried beans (45 mg/1 /2 cup). Milk (not cheese or yogurt) is the only reliable dietary source of vitamin D, a nutrient essential in calcium absorption and deposition into bones. Vitamin D-fortified soymilk and some fortified breakfast cereals are the only other dietary sources. Other than that, you must take a supplement to reach recommended daily levels of 200IU to 400IU. Milk also is an excellent source of vitamin B2 and other B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and protein. -Elizabeth Somer