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Calcium Sources

Getting enough calcium each day is important to keeping your bones and teeth strong, and your body working properly. While milk and milk products contain the most calcium, there are many calcium-rich alternatives if you don’t eat dairy products. See the chart below to help you make your daily calcium choices. 

 

Why do we need calcium?

Our bodies use calcium not just to keep bones and teeth healthy, but to help our heart, muscles and nerves work properly. When we eat foods that are rich in calcium, the calcium enters our blood and is carried to the organs to perform the work that is needed. Any extra calcium we eat is stored in our bones. When we don’t get enough calcium from food, the body will take the calcium from our bones to meet its needs. Over time, using the calcium from our bones will reduce bone mass and make our bones weak and fragile. 

 

Daily Calcium Needs 

Age

Calcium mg/day

1-3 years

500

4-8 years

800

9-18 years

1300

Pregnancy & Lactation <18 years

1300

19-50 years

1000

Pregnancy & Lactation 19-50 years

1000

51+ years

1200

Individuals at risk for or with osteoporosis

1500

 

Calcium content of some common foods*

 

More than 300 mg of calcium

Portion

Cow’s milk, Goat’s milk

1 cup (250 ml)

Fortified soy or rice beverage

1 cup (250 ml)

Fortified orange juice

1 cup (250 ml)

Cheese – Brick, Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda

50 g (2 slices)

Evaporated milk

1 cup (250 ml)

Plain Yogurt

¾ cup (175 ml)

Tofu, set with calcium (read label)

1/3 cup (100 g)

200-300 mg of calcium

 

Fruit flavoured yogurt

¾ cup (175 ml)

Frozen yogurt

¾ cup (175 ml)

Canned sardines with bones

6 pieces

Canned salmon with bones

½ can

Mozzarella cheese

2 oz (50 g)

100-200 mg of calcium

 

Almonds

¼ cup (60 ml)

Baked beans

1 cup (250 ml)

White (navy) beans

1 cup (250 ml)

Blackstrap molasses

1 tbsp (15 ml)

Milk pudding

½ cup (125 ml)

Powdered milk

3 tbsp (45 ml)

50-100 mg of calcium

 

Bok choy, cooked

½ cup (125 ml)

Broccoli

1 cup (250 ml)

Orange

1 medium

Kale

1 cup (250 ml)

Cottage Cheese

4 oz (113 g)

Ice cream

½ cup (125 ml)

 

*These numbers are average calcium amounts so always read the Nutrition Facts table on food package labels.

Use this calcium calculator to find out more about your calcium needs.

 

It isn’t always easy to get enough calcium from foods. Some people have difficulty tolerating milk products or simply don’t like them. If you’re concerned that you are not able to get the calcium you need from your food, speak to a healthcare professional about taking a calcium supplement.

 

Questions about calcium? Speak with an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian to find out how you can increase your calcium intake. Call 1-877-510-5102 or send an email.

 

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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.