Updated 24 October 2014

How much calcium you need?

Calcium is vital for bone health, but many of us don't get enough. What should you eat for optimum calcium intake, and should you supplement?

The current RDA (recommended daily allowance) for calcium is 1200mg, which you should try to get from the food you eat.

Good sources of calcium include cheese, milk, yoghurt, spinach, whitebait and sardines, canned salmon and pilchards (eaten with bones), almonds and tofu.

Note that fat-free and low-fat dairy products contain just as much calcium as full-cream varieties. Aim for two to three portions of dairy per day. One 250ml glass of milk is considered to be one portion.

Take the test: Check to see if you are getting enough calcium from your daily diet

Should I supplement?

If you don't eat enough dairy and other high-calcium foods, it's best to talk to your doctor or dietician regarding supplementation.

According to the latest research, calcium supplements should contain vitamin D and vitamin K2 to prevent the calcium you take from being deposited in your arteries where it can cause problems like heart attacks, strokes and sudden death.

Calcium supplements which thus contain vitamins D and K2 will ensure that the calcium you take goes into the bones and not into the arteries.

Read more:

10 foods that are rich in calcium
Calcium content of common foods
Why you should always take Vitamin D with calcium 

Image: Food sources of calcium, Shutterstock

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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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