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Vitamin D and calcium aren't the only dietary guidelines that matter. Here are some more

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

December 01, 2010|By Mary Forgione, For the Los Angeles Times
(David Karp )

Vitamin D and calcium, calcium and vitamin D. We've heard the "get more" mantra for so long, small wonder a new report on vitamin D and calcium intakes is creating a buzz.

The findings made news headlines because they dispute concerns about Americans being deficient in those nutrients, as this Los Angeles Times story says.

But it turns out there are a host of such reports -- and the Institute of Medicine issues regular updates. Here's a plethora of tables that provide dietary guidelines for vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, riboflavin and other nutrients.

Not sure about what foods to eat to get these nutrients? Here's what the National Institutes of Health fact sheet says about calcium:

"Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for the majority of people in the United States.

Kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are fine vegetable sources of calcium.

Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon, are fine animal sources of calcium.

Most grains (such as breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), while not rich in calcium, add significant amounts of calcium to the diet because people eat them often or in large amounts.

Calcium is added to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu.

To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels."

And here's what the fact sheet says about vitamin D:

"Very few foods naturally have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.

Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.

Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.

Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.

Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.

Strive to get recommended amounts of vitamin D by eating a variety of foods with plenty of fortified milk and fatty fish."

For more information, check out the Close Up on Healthkey.com.

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