Calcium-Rich Eating: Nutrition Facts

Learn the facts on ways to consume calcium-rich foods for best bone health.
Calcium-Rich Eating: Nutrition Facts - Videos

Instructors

Frances Alloway, MA, RD, LDN

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- [Voiceover] Calcium-Rich Eating.

Why is calcium important?

Calcium is a mineral needed for strong bones and teeth.

It also is proven to be associated with weight management, lowering blood pressure, and lowering the risk for some cancers.

Calcium is also needed to aid the body in other functions.

It helps blood to clot and is needed to release insulin, which maintains blood sugar.

In addition, calcium is required for the vitamin B12 to be absorbed.

Our bodies build bones until around age 30.

After this age, our bones still store calcium but they do not grow.

To keep our bones strong, we need to replace the calcium used in our bodies by eating calcium-rich foods.

If calcium is not replaced in the bones, a condition called osteoporosis can occur.

This condition is characterized by brittle bones.

A related condition called osteopenia is characterized by low bone mass.

Osteopenia is the stage before osteoporosis.

If you've been diagnosed with either osteoporosis or osteopenia, you should be getting 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day.

Generally, this is difficult to do with diet changes alone, so many physicians will prescribe a calcium supplement.

If you don't have these conditions, it is still important to include calcium in your diet.

There are different daily recommended amounts of calcium for each different age group.

Let's start with children and teenagers.

Ages one through three should get 700 milligrams of calcium daily.

Ages four through eight should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

And ages nine through 18 should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily.

Now let's see how much calcium adults need each day.

Ages 19 through 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

Males ages 51 through 70 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

And females ages 51 through 70 should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily.

In addition, ages 71 and up should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily.

There are also additional calcium requirements and recommendations for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Ages 14 through 18 should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily.

Ages 19 through 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

The upper limit of calcium for everyone's daily intake is 2,500 milligrams.

Calcium is important for all age groups for different reasons.

Young people between the ages of nine and 18 are still growing and need calcium to do so.

People between the ages of 18 and 50 need to maintain their bone strength.

People over the age of 50 lose their calcium at a faster rate than anyone else.

Here are some tips that can help you to get more calcium in your diet.

Buy beverages for mealtimes that contain both calcium and vitamin D, as vitamin D is needed for calcium to be absorbed.

And, look for broccoli, fish with bones, and nuts to boost calcium in your diet.

You should consume three to four different calcium sources each day.

There are many foods that contain calcium, but dairy foods top the list.

Dairy products also contain vitamin D and other nutrients.

However, you should choose low-fat dairy products to reduce fat and calories.

Let's take a look at some examples of dairy foods and their calcium content.

One cup of whole milk has 300 milligrams of calcium.

One cup of skim milk has 300 milligrams of calcium.

One cup of low-fat yogurt has 380 milligrams of calcium.

Once ounce of American cheese has 174 milligrams of calcium.

One ounce of mozzarella cheese has 207 milligrams of calcium.

And 1/2 cup of ice cream has 92 milligrams of calcium.

Besides dairy products, calcium can also be found in other foods, some of which are calcium-fortified.

These include soy and rice milk, orange juice, cereal, and many more products.

You can also add dry milk to recipes to boost the calcium in your meals.

Let's take a look at some non-dairy foods and their calcium content.

1/2 cup of fresh broccoli has 88 milligrams of calcium.

One cup of calcium-fortified soy milk has 300 milligrams of calcium.

And one cup of calcium-fortified orange juice has 300 milligrams of calcium.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for our bodies.

It is needed for strong bones, and calcium can help to prevent or reduce the risk of injury due to osteoporosis and oesteopenia.

Remember, drinking milk is not the only way to increase the calcium in your diet.

Try out one of the other tips we covered today and help your bones to stay strong.

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