We hear so much about calcium and its importance for bone health, but did you know calcium is necessary for nerve transmission, blood vessel contraction, vein dilation, muscle function, intracellular -(inside the cell) signaling and hormonal secretion.

99% of the body’s calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function.

When the blood level of calcium is low, the body will pull calcium from the bones for the blood stream, because of its necessity for basic body functions.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for daily calcium intake- required for bone health and to maintain adequate rates of calcium retention are:

                                        Men                       Women       

19–50 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
51–70 years 1,000 mg 1,200 mg
71+ years 1,200 mg 1,200 mg

Food sources for calcium:                              

                                                                   Mg per serving                     % of daily value

Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces 415 42
Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces 333 33
Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces 325 33
Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces 313–384 31–38
Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces 307 31
Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces** 299 30
Soy milk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces 299 30
Milk, reduced-fat (2% milk fat), 8 ounces 293 29
Milk, buttermilk, low fat, 8 ounces 284 28
Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 8 ounces 276 28
Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces 261 26
Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup*** 253 25
Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces 181 18
Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup 138 14
Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup*** 138 14
Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup 100–1,000 10–100
Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup 103 10
Turnip greens, fresh, boiled, ½ cup 99 10
Kale, fresh, cooked, 1 cup 94 9
Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup 84 8
Chinese cabbage, bok choi, raw, shredded, 1 cup 74 7


Another source of Calcium is calcium carbonate is found in some over-the-counter antacid products, such as Tums® and Rolaids®. Depending on its strength, each chewable pill or soft chew provides 200 to 400 mg of elemental calcium.

Calcium carbonate is an acceptable form of supplemental calcium, even for individuals who have normal levels of stomach acid.

Ever wonder why a good portion of calcium supplements have added Vitamin D? Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium.  Vitamin D is obtained from food, skin (sunlight exposure) and supplements.

Top Health Benefits of Calcium

  • Bone Health
  • Cancer Prevention – Studies have shown that consuming calcium rich foods are associated with a decreased risk of colon and rectal cancers.
  • Weight management – There has been shown a connection between calcium intake and lower body weight. It is believed that calcium in the diet can bind to fat in the digestive system.
  • Blood pressure and heart health- Calcium rich foods help relax smooth muscle, found in the veins and arteries, and possibly can help reduce blood pressure.

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