Calcium is a mineral that is vital to your body's health. It helps your body grow and keep strong bones. Your body always needs calcium. When there is not enough in the foods you eat, your body pulls what it needs from your bones. Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis(weak bones).
If you are at risk for or have osteoporosis, eating foods that are high in calcium can help. It can help build and keep strong bones. If you do it already, then it can lower the rate of bone loss.
Men and premenopausal women need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. Postmenopausal women need 1,200 mg. per day. Teens need 1,300 mg. per day.
Don't focus on eating more of just one food with calcium, such as milk. Try adding other foods. This table lists some foods that are good sources:
Besides calcium, other ways to protect your bones are:
Vitamin D is vital in order for your body to use the calcium you eat. Good sources are: milk with calcium, salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, and sunlight. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, and strength-training, can help make your bones strong. Also, quitting smoking is vital to stopping more bone loss.
Eating foods that are very high in fiber or alcohol can get in the way of your body getting enough calcium. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, or soda, can also pull calcium out of your bones and into your urine.
Here are some tips on how to get more calcium:
National Dairy Council
National Osteoporosis Foundation
Calcium. Office of Dietary Supplements—National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Calcium and vitamin D for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/calcium-and-vitamin-d-for-treatment-and-prevention-of-osteoporosis. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Calcium intake and supplementation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/calcium-intake-and-supplementation. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Muñoz-Garach A, García-Fontana B, et al. (2020). Nutrients and Dietary Patterns Related to Osteoporosis. Nutrients, 12(7), 1986.
Vitamin D. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 2/3/2021