According to a study done by the Surgeon General’s Ofﬁce most people underestimate their daily calcium needs by at least half! Since calcium is vital for bone health and essential for the heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly, you owe it to your body to make sure your calcium intake is sufﬁcient.
How much calcium do you need?
Our bodies are all unique and so are our individual calcium needs. As we age or face life changes (such as pregnancy) our needs will also change. Here is a general list of recommended daily intakes according to age.
1-3 yrs 500mg
4-8yrs 800 mg
Teens 9-18 1300mg
Adults 19-50 1000mg
Adults 51-70 1200mg
Pregnant: < 18 1300 mg
Pregnant:19+ 1000 mg
Women 50+ 1500 mg (Not on estrogen)
How much calcium are you currently getting?
That depends on how many calcium rich foods are in your diet. Dairy products are obviously the most signiﬁcant source of calcium. Many other foods, such as juices and breads, are now enriched with calcium. Here is an easy exercise to determine how many milligrams of calcium you are getting from your foods. Look at the Nutrition Facts section of the food label. You’ll ﬁnd the calcium % on the bottom half of the Nutrion Facts. Since the Calcium % is based on 1,000 mg a day, just add a ‘0’ to the end of the percentage value. For example, if a label shows calcium 30%, then there are 300 mg of calcium per serving.
Have you ever heard of a calcium calculator?
For a fun way to get a comprehensive estimate of your personal daily calcium intake visit www.calciuminfo.com/calciumcalulator.aspx (the word ‘calculator’ really is mispelled as ‘calculator’). You will be able to preview a long list of calcium rich foods, estimate how often you eat these foods, and then the ‘calculator’ will estimate your daily calcium intake. Happy Calculating!