Lactose is milk’s natural sugar, which, in lactose-intolerant people, can cause unpleasant digestive side effects which is different than milk allergy. Healthy adults require an average 1,000 mg of calcium a day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Milk, yogurt and cheese are great sources of calcium.

How can you reach the recommendations when you are lactose intolerant without putting yourself at risk? Incorporate the following changes to your daily routine to help you get more calcium:

Fermented Dairy

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Yogurt and kefir, are great to get more calcium into your diet along with gut-friendly probiotics. Probiotics contribute to regular bowel movements, prevent gastrointestinal infections and boost immunity. Plain yogurt has 350 to 450 milligrams of calcium per cup.

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Aged Cheese

Brie, blue cheese, Cheddar or Parmesan. The increased fermentation time reduces their lactose content to very low levels. A 45g serving of cheese provides between 300 and 350 milligrams of calcium.

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Lactose-Free Milk

Skim milk has approximately 300 milligrams per cup. Lactose-free milk contains the same amount of lactose, but the sugar lactose is already pre-digested, making it a safe option. Alternatively, you can also take lactase pills, which provide you with the deficient enzyme lactase to allow you to consume lactose without side effects.

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Non-Dairy Sources

A 90g tin of sardines contain 325 milligrams of calcium, 1/2 cup of frozen spinach has 146 milligrams A cup of fortified soy milk contains 368 milligrams of calcium.

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Beans

High in calcium as well as protein. One cup of baked beans has 154mg calcium.

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Canned salmon

90g contain 181mg calcium. Salmon also is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

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Calcium is a mineral that helps to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Getting enough calcium at all ages can help prevent osteoporosis later in life. Your muscles and heart also need calcium to work properly. . Consuming large quantities of soda raises phosphate levels in the blood, which can leach calcium from your bones and prevent the absorption of new calcium.

Many people with lactose intolerance can handle small amounts (one to two cups) of milk throughout the day. You may need to take lactase pill or a calcium supplement if you are not getting enough calcium from food.  Don’t take more than 500-600 mg of calcium at a time from supplements because this is the most your body can absorb at once.

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