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Publication #FCS8561

Healthy Eating: Calcium1

Linda B. Bobroff2

Why is calcium important?

Calcium is the major mineral found in your bones and teeth. Many older adults don’t get enough calcium from the foods they eat. This can lead to bone loss and the bone disease osteoporosis. Osteoporosis puts people at high risk for bone fractures.

What foods contain calcium?

  • Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream)

  • Kale and many other greens

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Broccoli

  • Legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils

  • Tofu (fortified)

  • Canned fish with bones

Figure 1. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Table 1. 

Good sources of calcium


Calcium (mg/serving)*

Yogurt, low fat, fruit, 1 cup


Sardines, canned, 3 ounces


Soy milk (fortified), 1 cup


Milk, low fat (1%), 1 cup


Orange juice (fortified), ¾ cup


Kale, cooked, ½ cup


Kidney beans, canned, drained, ½ cup


*(mg = milligrams)

How much calcium do I need?

The recommended daily intake of calcium for women 51 years of age and older is 1,200 milligrams. Men age 51–70 need 1,000 milligrams, and those older than 70 need 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day.

If you are not getting enough calcium from foods, you may need to take a calcium supplement. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for more information.



This document is FCS8561 (la versión español de este documento es Alimentación Saludable: Calcio (FCS8561-Span)), one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2000. Revised March 2006, March 2010, and June 2013. Reviewed May 2016. Visit the EDIS website at


Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.