Calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth, and to make your heart work properly.
What foods have calcium?
The following foods are good sources of calcium:
- GRAINS AND BREADS
- DAIRY AND ALTERNATIVES
- FORTIFIED BREAKFAST CEREAL
How much calcium do I need?
Women need 700mg of calcium per day.
Men need 700mg of calcium per day.
Calcium hints and tips
- Eat a wide variety of foods that contain calcium
- If dairy alternatives are eaten, choose ones with added calcium, such as soya milk, soya yogurt
- Vitamin D helps the body take in calcium, so it is vital to keep up vitamin D levels
More about calcium
Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is required to develop and maintain skeletal structures. 99% of calcium is deposited in bones and teeth, constantly being withdrawn and re-deposited at controlled rates. The remaining 1% is necessary for cell membranes, enzyme activity and influencing functions such as muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve transmission.
Vitamin D is essential to the absorption of calcium and is especially important in childhood and adolescence when bone growth and density is increasing. If you follow a vegan diet it is especially important to maintain your vitamin D intake to ensure calcium absorption. Calcium absorption is enhanced by milk and milk products, low sodium (including salt) intake and high potassium intake. However, absorption is inhibited by phytates (cereal foods, tea and coffee), oxalates in spinach, chard and rhubarb and supplemental intakes of minerals such as zinc.
Calcium is present in milk and dairy products (e.g. cheese and yoghurt), leafy green vegetables (but not spinach), bread and foods containing white or brown flour, nuts, sesame seeds, tofu, pulses, fortified soya drinks and, in hard water areas, tap water .