Many Americans don't get enough calcium. Your body needs calcium to build strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).
One good way to get enough calcium is to eat more dairy or fortified soy versions of dairy products. Other foods with added calcium and vitamin D can also help — and so can certain vegetables.
Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping.
Look for fat-free or low-fat dairy products or fortified soy versions of dairy products. Try:
- Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt (choose options with no added sugars)
- Low-fat cheese (3 grams of fat or less per serving)
- Fortified soy beverages (soy milk) or soy yogurt
If you’re lactose intolerant (have trouble digesting milk), try low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products.
You can also get calcium from vegetables like:
- Soybeans (edamame)
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Bok choy
If you buy canned vegetables, check the Nutrition Facts label and choose the option with the least sodium.
If you buy frozen vegetables, check the Nutrition Facts label and choose veggies without butter or cream sauces.
Foods with Added Calcium
Check the Nutrition Facts label to look for foods that have 20% or more Daily Value (DV) of calcium added, like:
- Breakfast cereal
- 100% orange juice
- Plant-based milks — like almond, rice, oat, and hemp milks
Foods with Vitamin D
Also be sure to look for foods with Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb (take in) calcium. You can get vitamin D from:
- Many types of fish — like salmon, tuna, and trout
- Milk, soy milk, or other plant-based milks with added vitamin D
- Some breakfast cereals, yogurts, and juices with added vitamin D
Check the Nutrition Facts label to see how much vitamin D is in a food. Look for foods with 20% DV or more of vitamin D.
Find more foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D:
Content last updated December 2, 2021
This information on calcium was adapted from materials from the Office of Dietary Supplements and the Office on Women’s Health.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion