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09 February, 2009

How To-97: "How to Get the Recommended Amount of Calcium"

How to Get the Recommended Amount of Calcium

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Most people need about 1000mg of Calcium a day. Teenagers and elderly people need a little more (between 1300 and 1500) There is rarely any point to consuming more than that, and in some people, consuming too much can actually lead to problems, such as calcium deposits and bone spurs.


  1. Get two servings of dairy. A serving of the dairy group is one glass of milk, a slice of cheese, or a cup of yogurt. Ice cream does contain milk, but it also contains lots of fat and calories, so this would not be the wisest choice.
  2. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables. These also contain calcium, although it is far less than the amount found in dairy. You would need to eat 5 cups of broccoli to get as much calcium as you can get in one glass of milk. However, these vegetables are low in calories and full of vitamins so if you enjoy them, you can eat just about as much as you want.
  3. Try calcium-fortified foods. This means that they do not naturally contain calcium, but calcium is added in a manufacturing plant. You will find this on the labels of many brands of orange juice, soy products, cereal... just about anything.
  4. Get plenty of Vitamin D. All the calcium in the world won't do you any good if you don't have Vitamin D alongside. Fortunately Vitamin D is very easy to get. Almost all commercially available foods that are rich in calcium are also fortified with vitamin D. Your skin will also make this vitamin inside your body when exposed to the sun. If you are concerned about getting vitamin D, many fish, such as salmon and mackerel are rich in it.
  5. If you don't feel that you're getting enough calcium from your diet, consider supplements.
    • The cheapest available are antacids, such as Tums. For most people, these are generally sufficient. There are also calcium chews available that taste like chocolate or caramel. Both of these forms much be chewed very thoroughly and taken with water.
    • There are also big calcium pills that you can take. You should take these with plenty of water. It is also important to note that your body will only absorb about 500mg in a sitting. So if you choose to take supplements, take one in the morning and one in the evening. Do not take two doses at the same time.
    • If you take a multivitamin, check the label. Most popular multivitamins do not contain a lot of calcium.


  • Calcium has been linked to a reduction in colon cancer rates and osteoporosis.
  • Adequate calcium levels have also been shown to alleviate PMS symptoms and early-waking insomnia
  • Calcium is very very important in early life. The earlier you begin taking it, the better off you will be.
  • Green leafy vegetables, beans, calcium-fortified soymilk, and calcium-fortified 100-percent juices are good calcium sources with advantages that dairy products lack. They are excellent sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants, while containing little fat, no cholesterol, and no animal proteins.
  • Many green vegetables have absorption rates of more than 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk. In 1994, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported calcium absorption to be 52.6 percent for broccoli, 63.8 percent for Brussels sprouts, 57.8 percent for mustard greens, and 51.6 percent for turnip greens. The calcium absorption rate from kale is approximately 40 to 59 percent. Likewise, beans (e.g., pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and navy beans) and bean products, such as tofu, are rich in calcium.


  • Exposure to sunlight is essential for making vitamin D. However, that is no excuse to skimp on the sunscreen. Your skin will get what it needs through the sunscreen.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of fruits and vegetables that are high in oxalates which can prevent calcium absorption. Spinach, tapioca, chives, rhubarb and parsley are examples of vegetables that are high in oxalates. Pumpkin, carrot, radish, star fruit, kiwifruit, guava and strawberries have lower amounts. Oxalates are also present in tea, cocoa and coffee.

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