The recommended daily dose of calcium for average adults is 1000-1200 mg per day. We all know we need a good amount of calcium in our diet to maintain healthy teeth and bones but what does 1000-1200 mg look like? Calcium is present in all foods now from cereal to orange juice to non-dairy milks. How do we know if we’re getting enough or even too much?
- Milk: 300 mg of calcium. You would need 3-4 cups a day to fill your daily requirement.
- Yogurt: 450 mg of calcium. You would need 3 cups a day.
- Tofu: 250-750 mg of calcium for 4 oz. It depends on the type of tofu and the brand.
- Cereals: 250-1000 mg of calcium per serving. This also depends on the brand but it is not natural calcium and is calcium fortified.
- Sesame Seeds: 88 mg per tablespoon.
If you eat salads frequently, kale, spinach, mustard greens, arugula and chard all contain various amounts of calcium (with spinach having the most at 240 mg per cup). Fruits such as kiwi and figs also contain calcium (with figs having 300 mg per cup).
NATURAL VS FORTIFIED
The best way to consume calcium is in its natural state and not when it’s fortified (added) to a product. Although the chemical compound is the same, calcium needs certain other nutrients to be absorbed fully into your body. When calcium is added to cereal or orange juice, or even back into milk, all of the other helpful components that help it get absorbed are lost which makes your actual calcium intake a lot lower than what you think it is.
You should also keep track of how much calcium you’re ingesting. Drinking 10 glasses of milk a day will not make your bones extra strong, especially if it’s calcium supplements or added calcium. It can actually increase your risk for heart attack and stroke and cause muscle pain, mood disorders and kidney stones. The easiest way to get your daily intake is to eat at least one fat-free greek yogurt a day (it has calcium, vitamin D and protein!) and add in fruits to make it even healthier.
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients on living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining proper oral health for over twenty-five years. If you have any questions call our New Fairfield, CT office at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.