15 Ways to Boost Your Calcium Intake

You’re careful about calories and fussy about fat. You crunch the numbers and keep track of your daily diet. But how conscious are you of calcium, the mineral that keeps men and women strong and healthy? 

Calcium plays an important role in strengthening bones and teeth. But what many people don’t know is that it also helps muscles and nerves function properly. Calcium isn’t something your body can manufacture itself, so it relies on your diet to meet its needs.

Bones and teeth store about 99 percent of the calcium in the body, with the remaining 1 percent usually found in blood, muscles and other bodily tissues and fluid. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium from the foods you eat, it will take the mineral out of your bones, essentially robbing them of some of their strength. A calcium deficiency can eventually lead to osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone mass. Because bones are continually repaired throughout your lifetime, it is essential to get enough calcium, no matter your age. Taking care of your bones now will aid you in later years.

It is currently recommended that adults ages 18-50 consume about 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day, while adults ages 51 or older need 1200 milligrams. (It is also worth noting that adequate consumption of vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.) 

The best sources of calcium are, of course, dairy foods. Just one cup of milk or yogurt contains 300 milligrams of calcium. Other good sources include cheese (200 mg. per ounce) and cottage cheese (77 mg. per 1/2 cup). Use caution with dairy products, however. While you can meet your calcium needs with three to four dairy servings per day, watch out for extra calories and fat. Often, these foods come in non-fat or low-fat varieties, many of which taste just as good as the full-fat versions yet still contain the same amount of calcium.

Green, leafy vegetables are high in calcium, but low in calories. One cup of spinach contains almost 250 milligrams of calcium, while a cup of kale has almost 100 milligrams. Broccoli contains 80 milligrams, making it another healthy vegetable to include in your diet. Other excellent sources include canned sardines (325 mg per 3 oz), canned salmon (180 mg per 3 oz), nuts such as almonds, legumes like garbanzo beans or peas, and fortified tofu (130 mg per 1 cup). 
 

15 Simple Ways to Increase Calcium Consumption 


There are many easy ways to boost your calcium intake by sneaking these foods into your daily diet:
  1. Add beans to soups, chili and pasta dishes.
  2. Grate low-fat cheese over soups and salads.
  3. Enjoy a smoothie made with yogurt.
  4. Use milk instead of water in soups, breads, sauces or salad dressings.
  5. Add milk to tea or coffee in the morning.
  6. Try plain yogurt as a vegetable dip.
  7. Stir some nuts into a yogurt cup as a snack.
  8. Include leafy vegetables in baked casseroles such as lasagna.
  9. Buy juices and cereals fortified with calcium.
  10. Drink skim milk instead of soda at lunch.
  11. Eat hot oatmeal made with milk for breakfast.
  12. Snack on crunchy broccoli instead of potato chips.
  13. Substitute plain low-fat yogurt for recipes that call for sour cream.
  14. Treat yourself to pudding made with skim milk for dessert.
  15. Take a daily supplement, available in capsules or chewable tablets.
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Member Comments

Iron is what I seem to need more of. Report
thank you Report
I need this! Thanks! Report
most of these are good suggestions... i say that number 9 is a terrible suggestion... for overall health, do not buy juices and cereal... another suggestion to supplement your calcium intake, or mineral intake, is MINERAL WATER... through research and trials, i have found GEROLSTEINER to be top-notch... it has high mineral content, low sodium, good taste... and you can find it in your supermarket...

i also take liquid calcium gel capsules... they are much easier to digest than the large chalky tablets... le deseo buena salud! or volo bonum salutem, y'all! Report
Good suggestions, thank you. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
thanks Report
I do take a supplement on the recommendation of my health care provider. Need to protect my bones! Report
I just added a pill. Report
I love cottage cheese but was shocked to learn that it has a lot of sodium. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Supplements hurt my tummy but the rest of the ideas, I like them! Thanks. Report
Great article! Report
Great tips! Report
Good info Thank you Report


 

About The Author

Liz Noelcke
Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.