Why do you need calcium?
Calcium is important for the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, and has a role in muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
Insufficient dietary calcium can contribute to stress fractures in the short term and osteoporosis or thinning of the bones later in life, especially in females.
By reaching a good peak bone mass in your twenties you can help reduce your risk. After peak bone mass has been achieved, it is important to try to maintain bone mass.
Meeting recommendations for calcium intake combined with exercise, will help achieve and maintain peak bone mass. For women, regular menstrual periods also play an important part in developing and maintaining peak bone mass.
Recommended intake of calcium
- Adolescents: 1000-1200 mg/day
- Adults (males and females): 800-1000 mg/day
- Post-menopausal women: 1000-1200 mg/day
You can meet you daily requirement for calcium by including calcium-rich foods in your daily diet.
If you do not eat dairy products or have a low-energy intake, you need to take special care that your diet is providing adequate calcium.
Calcium content of foods
- Milk: one 200ml glass can provide 200-410 mg of calcium (depending on the type of milk consumed).
- Cheese: 3 slices/cubes (40g) can provide 220-310 mg of calcium (depending on the type of cheese consumed).
- Sardines: 1 can (100g) can provide 460 mg of calcium.
- Baked beans: 1 can (425g) can provide 191 mg of calcium.
- Tofu: half a cup (130g) can provide 140 mg of calcium.
- Muesli: 1 average bowl (80g) can provide 110 mg of calcium.
- Salmon with bones: half a can (100g) can provide 100 mg of calcium.
- Broccoli: half a cup cooked can provide 30 mg of calcium.