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Calcium in your Diet

January 6, 2011 @ 8:00 am
posted by Dr Ginther

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has set the standard total for Calcium at 1200 to 1500 mg daily. That is 4 to 5 – 8 oz glasses of milk every day.  Few of us drink that much.  Most of us drink a lot less.  This is not a problem IF we get our Calcium in other foods.

Your body can absorb only 500-600 mg of Calcium at each meal.  Therefore you must spread out your calcium over 3 meals a day.  Remember, you should not exceed 1500 mg Calcium daily.  Too much Calcium can be bad for kidneys or heart.

Chart of common foods high in Calcium in mg:

(adapted from the USDA website)

Milk (skim to whole)   8oz      300

Milk on cereal (4oz)                150

Yogurt (plain) 4oz                   200

Yogurt (plain) 6oz                   300

American cheese 1 slice          150

1oz Swiss or Provolone           225

1oz Cheddar or Mozzarella     200

8oz Low-Fat Cottage cheese  200

3oz canned Sardines bone-in  375

1 cup frozen Collard greens    350

1 cup cooked Spinach             275

1cup Black Eyed Peas                        210

1 cup cooked Kale or Okra     175

3oz Ocean Perch or Halibut    100

½ cup Ice Cream                       75

1oz Almonds                             75

1 cup boiled Broccoli                50

16oz Fast Food Shake                        375

Double Cheeseburger w bun   300

Double Hamburger w bun      100

Corn Dog                                100

Fish Sandwich w Cheese        175

1 slice 14” Pepperoni Pizza     175

Egg Cheese Canadian Bacon

on English Muffin            250

Egg Cheese Bacon Croissant  150

Nutri-Grain Cereal Bar           200

1 serving Total brand Cereal 1000

but you can only absorb 5-600

The full list of 1200 food items is at www.ars.usda.gov/Services

Jay Ginther, MD

2008 / Revised November 2010

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