Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
March 2019

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.

Your body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Vitamin D also has other roles in the body and may help to prevent or manage some chronic diseases.

How much calcium and vitamin D do I need?

Recommended amount of calcium per day:

Age Male Female
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 Male Female
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

People who take certain medications or have specific medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, may have different calcium or vitamin D needs and should speak with their health care provider.

Which foods contain calcium?

Calcium is found in varied amounts in lots of different foods. Foods that are highest in calcium include milk, fortified soy beverage, yogurt and tofu made with calcium sulfate. Nuts, seeds, legumes and greens are also sources 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.

Which foods contain vitamin D?

Only a few foods contain vitamin D naturally include fish, liver and egg yolk. Most of the vitamin D in our diet comes from foods with added vitamin D. In Canada, vitamin D must be added to cow milk and margarine. Other foods like yogurt and soy beverage may also have added vitamin D. Check the percent daily value (%DV) on the label to see if a food contains vitamin D and how much. Foods with 15% or higher of the daily value have a lot of vitamin D.

Should I take supplements?

Use the Food Sources tables below to find out how much calcium and vitamin D you are getting. If you are not getting enough, try adding more food sources to your diet. If you find it hard to get enough from food, you can take a supplement to help meet your needs. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about the right type or amount of supplement that’s best for you.

There are 2 groups who should take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU daily to help meet their needs:

  • Infants and young children who are breastfed, or breastfed and given some infant formula
  • Adults older than 50 years of age

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Food Serving Size Amount of vitamin D
Egg yolk, cooked 1egg 32 IU
Herring, Atlantic, cooked 75 g 161 IU
Mackerel, Atlantic, cooked 75 g 78 IU
Margarine 10 mL 60 IU
Milk 250 mL 103 IU
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, 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
Soy beverage, unsweetened, fortified 250 mL 87 IU
Trout, cooked 75 g 148 IU
Tuna, bluefin, cooked 75 g 219 IU
Tuna, canned, light 75 g 36 IU
Tuna, yellowfin (albacore, ahi), cooked 75 g 106 IU

Food Sources of Calcium

Food Serving Size Amount of Calcium
Milk and milk products
Buttermilk 250 mL (1 c) 300 mg
Cheese, hard 50 g 370 mg*
Cottage cheese, 1% 250 mL (1 c) 146 mg
Kefir 250 mL (1 c) 267 mg
Milk, evaporated 125 mL (1/2 c) 367 mg
Milk, whole, 2%, 1%, skim 250 mL (1 c) 291 to 316 mg
Yogurt 175 g (3/4 c) 272 mg*
Nuts, seeds and legumes
Almond butter 30 mL (2 tbsp) 113 mg
Almonds, dry roasted 60 mL (1/4 c) 94 mg
Black beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 34 mg
Chickpeas, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 59 mg
Navy beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 93 mg
Pinto beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 58 mg
Sesame seeds kernels, dried 60 mL (1/4 c) 23 mg
Tahini (sesame seed butter) 30 mL (2 tbsp) 130 mg
White beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 c) 119 mg
Soy foods and beverages
Soy beverage, unsweetened, fortified 250 mL (1 c) 318 mg
Soy beverage, unsweetened, regular 250 mL (1 c) 65 mg
Soybean, curd cheese 150 g 282 mg
Tempeh, cooked 150 g 144 mg
Tofu, made with calcium sulphate 150 g 525 mg
Vegetables and fruit
Broccoli, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 33 mg
Chinese broccoli/gai lan, cooked 125 mL (1/2 c) 46 mg
Chinese cabbage/bok choy, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 84 mg
Kale, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 49 mg
Mustard greens, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 87 mg
Okra, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 65 mg
Orange 1 medium 52 mg
Turnip greens, boiled, drained 125 mL (1/2 c) 104 mg
Blackstrap molasses 15 mL (1 tbsp) 179 mg
Dried fish, smelt 35 g 560 mg
Salmon, pink, canned with bones 75 g 212 mg
Sardines, Atlantic canned with bones 75 g 286 mg
Seaweed (agar), dry 125 mL (1/2 c) 50 mg
Seaweed, wakame, raw 125 mL (1/2 c) 63 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.

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