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Everyone needs calcium. It helps:

  • Keep teeth and bones strong
  • Blood clot in cuts and wounds
  • Keep a normal heart beat
  • Muscles contract
  • Prevent Osteoporosis (bone loss that may occur with age)
  • Keep nerves healthy

Calcium & Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium by increasing the absorption of calcium in your intestines. Once absorbed by the intestine, calcium moves into the bloodstream and is deposited into your bones.

  • Fatty fish, liver, egg yolks, and fortified milk products are the main ways to get Vitamin from food. Buy milk fortified with Vitamin D. 
  • Another great source of Vitamin D is sunshine.

Food Sources of Calcium

Did you know: Milk is the best source of calcium. 1 cup of milk gives you about 300 mg of calcium. All types of milk contain the same amount of calcium and some other nutrients. The only difference is the amount of fat and calories.

High food sources that equal the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of cow’s milk include:

  • Yogurt, plain – 1 Cup
  • Cheddar Cheese – 1 ½ oz. (approx. 2 slices)
  • Swiss Cheese – 1 ¼ oz. (approx. 2 slices)
  • Mozzarella, Part Skim – 1 ½ Oz (approx. 2 slices)
  • Soy Milk – 1 Cup
  • Spinach, cooked – 1 Cup
  • Tofu – ½ cup

Good food sources that equal the same amount of calcium as ½ to ¾  cup of cow’s milk include:

  • Pink Salmon, canned w/bones – 3 oz.
  • Mackerel, Jack, canned – ½ cup
  • Sardines, canned – 2 sardines
  • American Cheese – 1 to 1 ½ oz.
  • Cottage cheese 2 % – 1 cup
  • Velveeta Cheese – 1 oz.
  • Broccoli, cooked – 1 cup
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, raw – 2 cups
  • Whole wheat bread fortified with calcium – 1 slice
  • Sesame seeds – 1 oz

If you are lactose intolerant, you may still be able to drink milk, or eat milk foods, in limited amounts:

  • Use milk in small amounts
  • Drink milk with other foods
  • Try yogurt or buttermilk
  • Try chocolate milk 
  • Try lactose–reduced milk
  • Try cheese

Helpful Tips

  • Drinking too much pop/soda may keep your body from using calcium found in foods.
  • Powdered milk is a good buy and can be used in casseroles, breads, creamed soups, puddings, and other foods to add calcium, protein and calories.

Sources: USDA Infant Feeding & Nutrition – A Guide for Use in WIC, UCSF Health

This post was last updated on December 18th, 2019 at 3:27 PM

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