Calcium // Look Beyond the Milk Jug



Need more calcium in your diet? You don’t have to get it from a glass of milk— try our Green Eggs and Ham for a calcium boost!


A favorite Dr. Seuss story, “I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham,” has a great ending with Sam I Am deciding that he does like green eggs and ham.  You may also find that green eggs and ham can be a great addition to your health.

Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body is an important component to daily health.  Although it is an essential mineral for our bodies, the majority of Americans do not take in enough calcium for their body’s daily use. Calcium is a key factor in maintaining good health. It is essential for building and maintaining bones and teeth, for keeping a regular heart beat and reduced blood pressure, for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction and the maintenance of cell membranes. New research shows that calcium can protect against colon cancer. Adequate calcium intake may reduce your overall risk of colon cancer and suppress the growth of polyps that can lead to cancer.

Most Americans realize that calcium builds strong bones and helps in keeping them strong later in life to prevent osteoporosis.  Yet most Americans only consume half of the daily amount of calcium they need from their diet.

Calcium is excreted every day through sweat and body waste.  To prevent bones from taking calcium from the blood and body, replenish your body daily with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.  Such foods high in calcium are dairy products, kale, almonds, sardines and canned salmon with bones, oranges, broccoli and sweet potatoes.  If you do not get enough calcium from the foods you eat, change your diet or take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Your body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Vitamin D comes from the ultraviolent sun rays and from fortified foods such as eggs, liver, oysters and fish.

The best ways to increase calcium are with increased dairy products (3-4 servings a day), additional dark green vegetables and foods with added calcium.  

As we age, our metabolism and ability to absorb nutrients decreases. It is critical that we increase the amount of calcium we intake daily.  Women over 50 and men over 65 need to consume 1,200-1,500 milligrams of calcium daily. Additional Vitamin D is also needed for absorption of calcium since many people do not get enough sun and skin no longer absorbs the vitamin D as it did in younger years.

Calcium intake is a global concern – especially in countries that do eat many dairy products.  New research being conducted by USDA Children’s Center is adding calcium to carrots and other veggies.  Watch for calcium-boosted carrots in the grocery store.

Now you can see how important it is to begin to like our “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Green Eggs and Ham

3 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup 2% reduced-fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed
12 thin slices ham


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tins.
2. Combine eggs, flour, butter, cottage cheese, cheddar and hot sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Add spinach and pulse briefly. Do not over-process; green flecks should be visible.
3. Line muffin tins with ham slices, pressing down with fingertips. Pour about 1/3 cup egg mixture into each tin.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 8-12 people                      I 

This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension associate professor,

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