Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
August 2014

Why do I need calcium and vitamin D?

Calcium is one of the building blocks of strong bones. Because our bones are being broken down and rebuilt throughout our lives, we need to eat foods with calcium. Over time, this 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.

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?

Foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt and beverages with calcium added such as soy beverages, orange juice, and rice beverages. Cheese is also a good source of calcium. For other foods, check the label. Calcium has been added if you see 'fortified' or 'enriched' on the label.

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.

Excellent sources of vitamin D are foods and beverages that have vitamin D added to them. Cow milk always has added vitamin D. Orange juice, margarine, and soy beverage usually have it added. For other foods, check the label. You know vitamin D has been added if you see 'fortified' or 'enriched' on the label.

Should I take a Vitamin D supplement?

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.

Infants and young children who are breastfed or breastfed and given some infant formula need a Vitamin D supplement of 400IU every day. Adults older than 50 years of age need more vitamin D, and should take a supplement of 400 IU each day.

What if I do not eat dairy foods?

There are many other foods that contain these nutrients. Use the lists of foods here and on the next page to help you choose a variety of foods. If you find it hard to get enough calcium and vitamin D from food, talk to your health care provider about the right type of supplement for you.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Food Serving Size Amount of Vitamin D
Milk 250 mL 104 IU
Fortified rice or soy beverage 250 mL 87 IU
Fortified orange juice 125 mL 50 IU
Fortified margarine 10 mL 51 IU
Egg yolk 1egg 32 IU
Herring, cooked 75 g 161 IU
Trout, cooked 75 g 150 IU
Mackerel, cooked 75 g 81 IU
Salmon, Atlantic, cooked 75 g 246 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
Sardines, Pacific, canned 75 g 204 IU
Tuna, canned, light 75 g 36 IU
Tuna, yellowfin (albacore, ahi), cooked 75 g 105 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 to 370 mg
Kefir 250 mL (1 c) 267mg
Cheese, hard 50 g 370mg*
Processed cheese spread 60 mL (4 tbsp) 348 mg
Cheese, processed slices 50 g 276 mg
Cottage cheese, 1 or 2% 250 mL (1 c) 146 mg
Pudding or custard made with milk 125 mL (1/2 c) 150 mg
Yogurt, plain 175 g (3/4 c) 320mg*
Yogurt, fruit bottom 175 g (3/4 c) 214mg*
Frozen yogurt, soft serve 125 mL (1/2 c) 109 mg
Ice cream 125 mL (1/2 c) 89 mg
Tofu, made with calcium sulphate 150 g 347 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) 58 mg
Tahini (sesame seed butter) 30 mL (2 tbsp) 130 mg
Almonds, dry roast 60 mL (1/4 c) 93 mg
Almond butter 30 mL (2 tbsp) 88 mg
Sesame seeds kernels, dried 60 mL (1/4 c) 23 mg
Sardines, Atlantic canned with bones 75 g 286 mg
Sardines, Pacific canned with bones 75 g 180 mg
Salmon canned with bones 75 g 208 mg
Fortified rice or soy beverage 250 mL (1 c) 320 mg
Orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D 250 mL (1 c) 320 mg
Regular soy beverage 250 mL (1 c) 65 mg
Turnip greens 125 mL (1/2 c) 104 mg
Chinese cabbage/bok choy 125 mL (1/2 c) 84 mg
Okra 125 mL (1/2 c) 65 mg
Mustard greens 125 mL (1/2 c) 55 mg
Kale 125 mL (1/2 c) 49 mg
Chinese broccoli/gai lan 125 mL (1/2 c) 46 mg
Broccoli 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
Daylily flower 100 g 301 mg
Tempeh, cooked 150g 144 mg
Fat choy (black moss), dried 10g 88 to 122 mg
Soy bean curd slab, semisoft 100 g 308 mg
Soy bean milk film, stick shape 100 g 77 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: