How much calcium do you need? This is a question most of us cannot answer without looking it up.

The UK Government's National Diet and Nutrition survey has identified calcium as lacking in the British diet, particularly among young children and women. In fact, many countries' citizen's have diet lacking in calcium.

An average adult should aim to eat 700mg calcium each day. However; the amount of calcium required by our bodies is dependent on our life stage.

Babies, children and adolescents require large amounts for growth and development while pregnant and breastfeeding mothers must ensure an adequate intake so that their own calcium deposits are not compromised.

Post-menopausal women are particularly at risk from osteoporosis and may need to boost calcium intake to approximately 1,200mg per day.

A calcium supplement can help. Other nutritional and lifestyle factors are important for bone health. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in bone metabolism and calcium absorption.

Most of our vitamin D comes from normal daily exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources include oily fish, eggs and fortified foods, for example margarine.

Table of daily calcium requirements

RNI = Reference Nutrient Intake. Taken from the Government's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy Report 41.

Age 0-12 months (non breast fed infants only) RNI 525mg

Age 1-3 years RNI 350mg

Age 4-6 years RNI 450mg

Age 7-10 years RNI 550mg

Age 11-18 years RNI (boys)1000mg, (girls) 800mg

Age 19+ years RNI 700mg

Pregnant women RNI 700mg

Breastfeeding women RNI 700+550mg


Some foods in this group are high in fat, cholesterol, or both. Choose lower fat, lower cholesterol foods most often. Read the labels.

Most foods in the milk group

-- milk and dishes made with milk, such as puddings and soups made with milk

-- cheeses such as Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan

-- yogurt

-- Canned fish with soft bones such as sardines, anchovies, and salmon

-- Dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens, and pak-choi

-- Tofu, if processed with calcium sulfate. Read the labels.

-- Tortillas made from lime-processed corn. Read the labels.

-- Breakfast cereal with added calcium