10 Calcium-Rich Foods to Eat for Good Bone Health
To maintain strong, healthy bones, you have to consume a diet rich in calcium throughout your life. Your need for calcium becomes even greater as you age. Eating calcium-rich foods can help prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bones.
10 Calcium-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
- Dairy products
- Fish with bones: salmon, sardines or whitebait
- Dark leafy green vegetables: kale
- Calcium-fortified juices
- Fortified tofu
- Soy milk
- Dried figs
If you can’t get the proper amount of calcium through your daily diet, supplements are an accessible, relatively safe choice. Always consult your physician before beginning a supplement routine.
The U.S. recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg a day during our 20s, 30s and 40s. But our need for calcium rises as we age. Check with your doctor before starting supplements about the amount that’s right for you.
After menopause, women need 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day unless they take hormone therapy. Your body only absorbs 500 mg of calcium at a time, so spread the calcium you consume over the course of the day for the greatest benefit, and take calcium with meals to maximize absorption. You can also check an online calcium calculator to see how much calcium you are already getting in your diet. This will help guide how much you should take in supplements because many other vitamins, including multivitamins, already have calcium in them.
To help absorb calcium, most adults need 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Combined calcium-vitamin D pills usually do not contain enough D to meet this requirement. Due to the risks of skin cancer and the difficulty in getting vitamin D from the sun, it is best to take a vitamin D supplement to ensure you are meeting your daily needs.