Calculating Calcium from Foods
How do you get your daily requirement for calcium? Do you get your calcium through your diet, or do you take a pill? Recent studies show that taking too much calcium, through a supplement; can cause heart disease, kidney stones and calcification of the arteries. If you already have heart problems, no doubt your physician has warned you about taking too much calcium and recommends getting this from your daily diet. Calcium from our diet is the natural way of obtaining the recommended daily allowance (RDA) and this form doesn’t come with the same health risks that a supplement does.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women under the age of 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. If you are over 50 years of age you'll need 1,200 mg of calcium and men age 70 or younger need 1,000 mg. For men over the age of 71, you’ll need 1,200 mg of calcium. This is the total amount you’ll need daily from all sources of calcium, so if you find it is very easy to get the RDA from your diet alone, you won’t need to take a supplement.
The easiest way to keep track of your calcium is to use a nutrient chart to enter the portion size and calcium totals for each item of food. To get you started here’s a list of popular calcium-rich foods that you may already be eating.
Collard greens, frozen
Salmon, canned w/bones
Milk, skim, low-fat, whole
Yogurt, plain, low-fat
Cottage Cheese, 2%
Frozen yogurt, vanilla
Almond milk, rice/soy
You can find the full list of calcium-rich foods at the National Osteoporosis Foundations web site.
If you want to use a calculator to add up your daily totals the Osteoporosis Canada site has a fantastic calculator that will enter your serving size, and total your calcium for you to let you know if you’ve reached your daily requirement.
Calcium and Vitamin D: What You Need to Know. National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014 http://nof.org/articles/10#CALCIUMSOURCES
A Guide to Calcium-Rich Foods. National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2014 Retrieved 30 March 2014 http://nof.org/articles/886
Calcium Calculator, Osteoporosis Canada, 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014. http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/calculate-my-calcium/