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Ask Tufts Experts September 2016 Issue

Q. Are dairy foods the best source of calcium to fight osteoporosis, or are supplements better?

A. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, director of Tufts' HNRCA Bone Metabolism Laboratory, answers: "Prevailing evidence is that food is the preferred source of calcium. Dairy foods are the major calcium source in American diets. Dairy foods also have other valuable components, like protein and potassium. It can be difficult to meet the calcium requirement without dairy foods, but it can be done for those who do not tolerate dairy (lactose intolerant) or who prefer non-dairy sources of calcium." Non-dairy sources of calcium include fortified almond, soy and cashew "milk," fortified breakfast cereals, canned fish, spinach and other dark leafy greens, soybeans and other beans, and okra.

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