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:
|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:
|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