Eat a Diet Rich in Calcium
- Calcium is essential to build and maintain strong bones at all stages of life, and therefore help prevent and/or manage osteoporosis. Calcium may also help with weight loss. In addition, research suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplementation may help to optimize blood glucose metabolism.
- Calcium helps reduce your risk for these serious health conditions:
|7 months-1 year||260|
|Men 51-70 years||1,000|
|Men 71 years or older||1,200|
|Women 51 years and older||1,200|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding teens||1,300|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding adults||1,000|
Amount of calcium
|Yogurt, plain low fat||1 cup||415|
|Milk, 2%||1 cup||285|
|Parmesan cheese, grated||1 tablespoon||55|
|Eggnog, nonalcoholic||1 cup||330|
|Chocolate milk, low fat||1 cup||288|
|Ricotta cheese, part skim||½ cup||335|
|Powdered milk||1/3 cup||283|
|Cheddar cheese||1 ounce||204|
|Swiss cheese||1 ounce||224|
|Provolone cheese||1 ounce||214|
|Cheese pizza||1 serving||113|
|Mozzarella cheese, part skim||1 ounce||207|
|American cheese||1 ounce||156|
|Cottage cheese, low fat 2%||1 cup||156|
|Frozen yogurt, soft serve||½ cup||103|
|Ice cream||½ cup||84|
Amount of calcium
|Carnation breakfast bars||1 packet||250|
|Tofu, regular, processed with calcium salt||½ cup||253|
|Calcium-fortified soy milk||1 cup||200-400|
|Salmon, canned with edible bones||3 ounces||181|
|Calcium-fortified orange juice||1 cup||300|
|Calcium-fortified dry cereal||½-1 cup||100-1,000|
|Blackstrap molasses||1 tablespoon||135|
|Pudding, ready to eat||½ cup||55|
|Dried figs||1 cup||300|
|Sardines with edible bones, in oil||3 ounces||325|
|Turnip greens, boiled||½ cup||100|
|Okra, boiled||1 cup||100|
|Kale, cooked||1 cup||94|
|Mustard greens, cooked||1 cup||40|
|Pinto beans, cooked||½ cup||39|
- When making oatmeal or other hot cereal, use milk instead of water.
- Add powdered milk to hot cereal, casseroles, baked goods, and other hot dishes.
- Make your own salad dressing by combining low-fat plain yogurt with herbs.
- Add tofu (processed with calcium) to soups and pasta sauce.
- If you like fish, eat canned fish, such as salmon or sardines, with soft bones on crackers or bread.
- For dessert, try low-fat frozen yogurt, ice cream, or pudding.
- In baked goods, replace half of the fat with plain yogurt.
- Eat dairy foods along with a meal rather than alone; the presence of other foods in the digestive tract can make it easier for your body to tolerate the lactose.
- Eat smaller portions of dairy foods. Many people find that they are able to tolerate ½ cup or ¾ cup of milk at a time, several times during the day, rather than 1 cup or more in one sitting.
- Choose aged cheeses, such as Swiss, Colby, Parmesan, and cheddar, which have most of their lactose removed during processing.
- Try dairy foods made with live, active cultures, such as yogurt and buttermilk. The "friendly" bacteria in these foods help to digest the lactose. These foods should have a "Live and Active Cultures" label.
- Be sure to include nondairy sources of calcium in your daily diet.
- Since the amount of calcium differs among products, check the label.
- Check your vitamin D intake too. This vitamin is essential for absorption of calcium. Milk is a great source of vitamin D, as is sunlight.
- If you take both calcium and iron supplements, take them at different times of the day, because they can impair each other's absorption.
- If you take more than 500 mg of supplemental calcium, space it out throughout the day; it is better absorbed that way.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
Office of Dietary Supplements http://ods.od.nih.gov
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
Calcium. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University website. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/calcium/index.html. Updated August 2014. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Calcium. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional. Updated November 21, 2013. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Calcium and vitamin D for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated November 20, 2014. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Calcium content of selected foods per common measure. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20. Available at: http://www.sweatpit.com/studybase/USDA%20Calcium.pdf. Accessed June 12, 2013.
Heaney RP. Calcium intake and disease prevention. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2006;50:685-693.
Hofmeyr G, Duley L, et al. Dietary calcium supplementation for prevention of pre-eclampsia and related problems: A systematic review and commentary. BJOG. 2007;114(8):933-943.
Lactose intolerance in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 4, 2012. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Pittas AG, Lau J, et al. The role of vitamin D and calcium in type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(6):2017-2029.
Straub DA. Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: A review of forms, doses, and indications [review]. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007;22:286-296.
Tips for making wise choices in the dairy group. USDA Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/Dairy/food-groups.dairy-tips.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2015.
7/6/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Villar J, Abdel-Aleem H, et al. World Health Organization randomized trial of calcium supplementation among low calcium intake pregnant women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;194(3):639-649.
7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Kumar A, Devi SG, et al. Calcium supplementation for the prevention of pre-eclampsia. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;104(1):32-36.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/09/2015 -