Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
68e
Last Updated: 
January 2017

Why do I need calcium and vitamin D?

Calcium is one of the building blocks of strong bones. We need to eat foods with calcium throughout our lives because our bones are always being broken down and rebuilt.

Eating foods with calcium helps to prevent bones from becoming weak. Weak bones are more likely to fracture or break. Your body needs Vitamin D to help calcium be absorbed.

Vitamin D also has possible roles in other areas of your health such as immunity, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and more. However the roles are not well understood yet.

How much calcium and vitamin D do I need?

Recommended amount of calcium per day:

Age Men Women
0 to 6 months 200 mg 200 mg
7 to 12 months 260 mg 260 mg
1 to 3 years 700 mg 700 mg
4 to 8 years 1000 mg 1000 mg
9 to 18 years 1300 mg 1300 mg
19 to 50 years 1000 mg 1000 mg
51 to 70 years 1000 mg 1200 mg
Over 70 years 1200 mg 1200 mg

mg = milligram

Recommended amount of vitamin D per day:

Age Men Women
0 to 1 year 400 IU 400 IU
1 to 70 years 600 IU 600 IU
Over 70 years 800 IU 800 IU

IU = International Units

Which foods contain calcium?

Calcium is found in small amounts in lots of different foods. Foods that are highest in calcium include milk, yogurt and beverages with calcium added such as fortified orange juice and some plant-based beverages. Cheese is also a good source of calcium. For foods that have a label, calcium is listed in percent daily value (%DV). Foods with 15% or higher of the daily value have a lot of calcium in them. For food sources of calcium without a label. Refer to the Food Sources of Calcium table.

Which foods contain vitamin D?

Very few foods have vitamin D in them. Foods with a higher amount of vitamin D include fish, liver, and egg yolk.

Foods and beverages that have vitamin D added to them are excellent sources of vitamin D. Cow milk always has added vitamin D. Fortified orange juice, margarine, and many plant-based beverages have it added. For other foods, check the label for the words “fortified with vitamin D” or “enriched with vitamin D”. Fortified and enriched foods are foods that have specific nutrients added to them.

Should I take a Vitamin D supplement?

Use the Food Sources of Vitamin D table to find out how much vitamin D you usually eat. You might find it difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. You can take a single vitamin D supplement or a multivitamin with vitamin D in it.

There are two groups that should take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU daily:

  • infants and young children who are breastfed or breastfed and given some infant formula; and
  • adults older than 50 years of age.

Should I take a calcium supplement?

Use the list of foods in the Food Sources of Calcium table to help you choose a variety of foods to meet your calcium requirement. If you find it hard to get enough calcium from food, talk to your health care provider about the right type and amount of supplement for you.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Food Serving Size Amount of Vitamin D
Milk 250 mL 103 IU
Fortified rice or soy beverage 250 mL 87 IU
Fortified orange juice 125 mL 100 IU
Fortified margarine 10 mL 60 IU
Egg yolk 1egg 32 IU
Herring, cooked 75 g 161 IU
Trout, cooked 75 g 148 IU
Mackerel, cooked 75 g 81 IU
Salmon, Atlantic, cooked 75 g 245 IU
Salmon, chum, canned 75 g 202 IU
Salmon, pink, canned 75 g 435 IU
Salmon, sockeye, canned 75 g 557 IU
Sardines, Atlantic, canned 75 g 70 IU
Tuna, canned, light 75 g 36 IU
Tuna, yellowfin (albacore, ahi), cooked 75 g 106 IU
Tuna, bluefin, cooked 75 g 219 IU

Food Sources of Calcium

Food Serving Size Amount of Calcium
Milk, whole, 2%, 1%, skim 250 mL (1 c) 291 to 316 mg
Milk, evaporated 125 mL (1/2 c) 367 mg
Buttermilk 250 mL (1 c) 300 mg
Kefir 250 mL (1 c) 267 mg
Cheese, hard 50 g 370 mg*
Processed cheese spread 60 mL (4 tbsp) 263 mg
Cheese, processed slices 50 g 287 mg
Cottage cheese, 1 or 2% 250 mL (1 c) 146 mg
Pudding or custard made with milk 125 mL (1/2 c) 142 mg
Yogurt, plain 175 g (3/4 c) 272 mg*
Yogurt, fruit bottom 175 g (3/4 c) 206 mg*
Frozen yogurt, soft serve 125 mL (1/2 c) 92 mg
Ice cream 125 mL (1/2 c) 76 mg
Tofu, made with calcium sulphate 150 g 525 mg
White beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 119 mg
Navy beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 93 mg
Black beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 34 mg
Pinto beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 58 mg
Chickpeas, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 59 mg
Tahini (sesame seed butter) 30 mL (2 tbsp) 130 mg
Almonds, dry roast 60 mL (1/4 c) 94 mg
Almond butter 30 mL (2 tbsp) 113 mg
Sesame seeds kernels, dried 60 mL (1/4 c) 23 mg
Sardines, Atlantic canned with bones 75 g 286 mg
Salmon, canned with bones 75 g 212 mg
Fortified rice or soy beverage 250 mL (1 c) 318 mg
Fortified orange juice 250 mL (1 c) 310 mg
Regular soy beverage 250 mL (1 c) 65 mg
Turnip greens, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 104 mg
Chinese cabbage/bok choy, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 84 mg
Okra, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 65 mg
Mustard greens, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 87 mg
Kale, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 49 mg
Chinese broccoli/gai lan, cooked 125 mL (1/2 c) 46 mg
Broccoli, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 33 mg
Orange 1 med 52 mg
Blackstrap molasses 15 mL (1 tbsp) 179 mg
Dried fish, smelt 35 g 560 mg
Tempeh, cooked 150 g 144 mg
Soybean, curd cheese 150 g 282 mg
Seaweed, Wakame, raw 125 mL (1/2 c) 63 mg
Seaweed, dry (agar) 125 mL (1/2 c) 50 mg

mL = milliliter, g = gram, c = cup, tbsp = tablespoon, mg = milligram
*calcium content may vary, check the label

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: