Keep Your Calcium Up

Posted: April 18, 2014

Is the word milk in your or your family’s daily vocabulary? Do you know how much calcium you or your child needs everyday to maintain or grow healthy bones? If milk isn’t a household item in your house, then do you know what foods help you get calcium into your diet?

In our busy day, many of us cannot answer these questions. Many times what we eat is dependent on our daily activities, responsibilities and energy level.

First, let’s begin by understanding how many milligrams of calcium we need each day. Read the chart below to find out how many milligrams (mg) you need in a day.

Check it out. How much calcium do you need in a day?

Age Calcium
Age 1-3 700 mg
Age 4-8 1000 mg
Age 9-18 1300 mg
19-50 1000 mg
Over 51 Females 1200 mg
Males 1000 mg

Next, find out how many milligrams of calcium are in the foods that you eat. You can do this by reading the food label.

Nutrition chart

At the bottom of the label you will see a percentage of total daily needs. Multiply this number by 1000 (FDA uses the average adult daily requirement for the food label). This equals the number of milligrams of calcium in one serving of the food item. Then, read the serving size on the food label. If you are consuming two servings, then multiply the number by two.

It is important to remember that we also need Vitamin D to absorb calcium from the foods that we eat.

Challenge yourself, see how many milligrams of calcium you consume in a day. Are you finding that you need to increase the number of milligrams of calcium in a day?

Lactose intolerant? If tests have shown that you are unable to digest the lactose sugar in milk, there are other ways to get calcium. Tofu and beans contain calcium too. Some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate small amounts of milk or other dairy products such as yogurt.

Contact Information

Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Phone: 888-825-1701