There are many reasons including health issues and allergies that people choose to remove or reduce dairy in their diet. Although milk and dairy-based foods are not necessarily required for overall and oral health, it is some people’s main source of calcium and other essential nutrients so cutting them out requires finding those elements in other foods. When cutting back on or removing milk and dairy-based products from a diet, it’s important to keep certain things in mind.
Source of calcium
Calcium is essential for maintaining strong teeth and bones, and as the body doesn’t create it, it has to come from diet. Dairy is only one source of calcium and cutting it out doesn’t mean that someone is removing his or her only source of the mineral. Other sources of calcium include dark leafy vegetables, almonds, almond milk and drinks fortified with calcium such as soymilk and orange juice. The average recommended daily calcium intake for an adult is 1,000 mg/daily.
Source of Vitamin D
Milk and dairy products are big sources of both calcium and Vitamin D, so people need to make sure you get enough Vitamin D if they’re limiting or cutting out dairy. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium found in food, and the main source of it is sunshine. It can be challenging to get enough sun, especially in winter, so increasing intake of food sources such as salmon and other fish can help. There are also foods fortified with Vitamin D such as juice, soymilk, and cereal.
Finding new protein sources
Dairy products are also a big source of protein in many people’s diets, but there are numerous other ways to get enough protein without eating cheese or drinking milk. Although nuts and nut milk have protein in them, they don’t quite compensate for the amount found in cow’s milk, so it’s important to consider adding soy milk or soy products into the diet. Getting enough protein helps protect your overall health and the health of your teeth and gums.
Dairy-free doesn’t equal boring food
Although cutting out dairy can mean giving up certain foods, it doesn’t equal enduring a boring diet. Many people drown out the true flavor of their food by covering it with cream and cheese, so eliminating those elements can be a treat for the taste buds. Foods like stews, stir fry, Thai curries and other flavorful, but dairy-free options, can open up a completely new culinary experience. Using almond milk in smoothies and coconut milk in main dishes can help reveal that giving up dairy isn’t as unpleasant as some think.
As long as you ensure that you have enough calcium, Vitamin D, protein and other essential vitamins and minerals, giving up dairy products can be healthy for your bones, including your teeth. Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics is dedicated to your oral health, and we’ll create a treatment plan that works with your dietary restrictions to ensure the protection of your teeth and gums.