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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 smaller portions of dairy foods. It is possible that you can tolerate more dairy products if they are consumed with food. 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.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
- Review Date: 03/2017
- Update Date: 03/09/2015