Osteoporosis Calcium Foods

We know that calcium is important for maintaining bone density. How can we incorporate calcium rich foods into an everyday nutritional program?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium for adults over 24 years is only 800 mg; however, women reaching their thirties and forties should avoid lowering their calcium intake too much, and pregnant and lactating women have additional needs and should maintain an intake of at least 1200 mg.

The National Academy of Science suggests that all adults consume 1200 mg of calcium per day. Some experts recommend up to 2000 mg daily for postmenopausal women. The optimal calcium intake for every person varies based on personal needs and must be individualized.

Adding Calcium Rich Foods to Your Diet

Most Americans do not achieve the RDA of calcium because of misconceptions about which foods are calcium rich. A single 8 oz glass of whole milk contains only 288 mg of calcium. When was the last time you had more than one glass of milk in a day? But, achieving the RDA of calcium is not very hard to do if you add calcium rich foods such as milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, and almonds to your diet.

To get a better understanding of how to utilize calcium rich foods on a daily basis, look at this sample daily diet:

Breakfast Calcium (mg) Calories
1 cup whole milk (8 oz) 288 159
2 slices raisin bread 36 132
2 scrambled eggs 90 194
1/2 grapefruit 15 35
Total 429 520

 

Lunch Calcium (mg) Calories
2 slices whole grain bread 23 102
2 oz Swiss cheese 502 202
3 oz turkey breast slices 9 198
1 tbsp mayonnaise 6 30
1 cup grapes 16 70
Total 556 602

 

Dinner Calcium (mg) Calories
1/2 breast broiled chicken 23 160
1 baked potato 14 145
1 tbsp butter 3 102
1.5 cups spinach salad (spinach, tomato, cucumber, Italian dressing) 82 211
1 cup cream of chicken soup (prepared with milk) 172 179
Total 294 797

 

Totals Calcium (mg) Calories
Breakfast 429 520
Lunch 556 602
Dinner 280 797
  1279 1919

If completely altering your diet does not sound like something you want to do, you can easily increase your daily intake of calcium rich foods without making drastic changes.

  • Increase your intake of dairy products; use low fat products that reduce calories while maintaining calcium levels.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of non-fat dry milk when cooking. This adds 50 mg of calcium per tablespoon.
  • Drink orange juice with calcium added. It contains as much calcium as the same amount of milk. Low acid varieties are useful for adults who cannot drink orange juice because of its acidity.
  • If you’re lactose intolerant, use a lactase enzyme replacement in a tablet or liquid form to take in a sufficient amount of dairy products.
  • Eat green leafy vegetables, like broccoli and kale, which are useful sources of calcium.
  • Don’t like vegetables? Try almonds, or legumes, which are also good calcium rich foods.

Resources

Van Loan, M.D. and Keim, N.L. (2000). Influence of cognitive eating restraint on total-body measure of bone mineral density and bone mineral content in premenopausal women aged 18-45: A cross-sectional study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72, 837-843.

University of Arizona. (nd). Calcium supplement guidelines.

American Dietetics Association’s Manual of Clinical Dietetics. (2000). Calcium-rich diet. Strong Health.