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Increasing Calcium in the Diet

Increasing Calcium in the Diet

The recommended daily calcium intake for adolescents and young adults (11 – 24 years of age) is 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams (mg). The recommended daily intake for children 6 – 10 years of age is 800 to 1,200 mg. A good way to get calcium is from foods such as those listed below (along with the amounts of calcium they contain). If you do not eat any of the foods listed below, talk to your doctor about a calcium supplement.

Factors that can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium and use it to built strong bones include:

  • a high-phosphorous diet (large amounts of meat and soda)
  • caffeine (more than two cups of coffee or soda a day)
  • cigarette smoking
  • low estrogen level (irregular or absent menstrual periods) in adolescent girls.

Dietary Sources of Calcium:

  • Milk: Whole, 8 oz (291 mg); Skim, 8 oz (302 mg)
  • Yogurt: Low fat plain, 8 oz (415 mg); Low fat with fruit, 8 oz (343 mg); Frozen (fruit), 8 oz (240 mg)
  • Ice cream: soft serve, 1 cup (274 mg)
  • Cheese: Muenster, 1 oz (203 mg); Cheddar, 1 oz (204 mg); Ricotta, part skim, 1 cup (167 mg); Mozzarella, part skim, 1 oz (207 mg); Cottage, 1/2 cup (100 mg)
  • Fortified orange juice (300 mg)
  • Fish: Salmon, 3 oz (167 mg); Shrimp, 3 oz (100 mg).
  • Vegetables: Collards, cooked from raw, 1 cup (252 mg); Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup (100-136 mg); Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup (122 mg).
  • Tofu in oriental foods (stir fry and soups), 4 oz (150-250 mg).


A way of increasing calcium is to add a crushed Tums to rice, soup or oatmeal. Also, making a soup stock with chicken bones and an acidic food such as onions, will add some calcium to the broth.