Cup o' calcium: That morning Joe may be better than you think
(9 January 2006: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- The good news keeps pouring in for latte lovers. After years of being told to limit coffee intake, it turns out our beloved morning brew may have a silver lining after all, especially when served with milk. New research finds, that coffee is rich in antioxidants, and, if drunk with milk, can also provide an important dietary source of bone building calcium. And, with coffee bars a fixture on every street corner, many java lovers have unknowingly made lattes their primary source of daily calcium -- a secret source in an otherwise deficient diet.
"Lattes are a good way to add extra calcium to your diet," says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. "They're better than drinking coffee alone. The calcium and other nutrients in milk, protect bones to guard against osteoporosis, and with non-fat milk, you get the nutrition with few calories."
And that's good news for health-conscious Californians. Just do the math. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), coffee drinkers consume, on average, three cups of coffee per day. Seventy five percent of those cups are served with milk, which weighs in at about a quarter cup per coffee drink(2). That adds up to an average of 3/4 cup of milk per day, per coffee-drinking Californian, or 225 mg of calcium -- which is nearly 25% of the calcium RDA for adults.
Yet, when asked how they get their calcium, that morning cup of joe doesn't even register as a calcium source for most people. In fact, in a recent survey of around 150 coffee-drinking Californians in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, only 6% of coffee drinkers even considered coffee with milk as containing calcium. On the other hand, eighty nine percent (89%) of those surveyed, said they got their daily calcium from dairy products (46%), calcium pills (26%) or vegetable sources (17%) -- not their lattes(3).
"An extra latte a day can be a good thing, especially if you don't like the taste of plain milk," says Bowerman. "You're getting some of the calcium you need without even thinking about it."
So, go ahead, have another latte -- and make that a double shot . . . of milk!
Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 9 January 2006