The amount of calcium in a product is indicated as the percentage of the daily requirement based on 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. To calculate the milligrams of calcium, simply add a zero to the percentage of calcium that appears on the label. For example, if 1 cup of milk contains 30% of your calcium needs, then it contains 300 milligrams of calcium (see the food label below). To absorb calcium, the body also needs vitamin D.
Some foods naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D, such as canned salmon with bones and egg yolks. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods and from exposure to the sun. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 600 international units (15 micrograms) a day for most adults. The German Osteological Association (DVO) recommends that adults consume between 1000 and 1500 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day.
Getting your daily dose of calcium doesn't have to be difficult. There are plenty of foods and beverages that can help you meet your daily requirements. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are some of the best sources of calcium. Other excellent sources include calcium-fortified orange juice, cranberry juice, or soy milk.
Just 2 ounces of cheese or 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or calcium-fortified beverage provide 300 milligrams of calcium, approximately 30 percent of your daily needs. Fortified foods, such as cereals, can make it easier to meet daily calcium requirements. Green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are also great sources of calcium. Calcium-rich mineral water is another option for getting your daily dose of calcium - look for water with more than 150 mg of calcium per liter. Many seeds are good sources of calcium and also provide other important nutrients, such as protein and healthy fats.
Whey protein is an exceptionally healthy source of protein and contains approximately 12% of the recommended daily amount of calcium in each 1.2-ounce (33-gram) scoop. By including a variety of these foods in your diet, you can easily get 1200 mg or more of calcium each day. Remember to also get enough vitamin D to help your body absorb the calcium.