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Our Calcium Requirements

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In 2010, calcium recommendations were established by a committee of experts from the Institute of Medicine, a highly recognised independent health body, to allow the majority of us to achieve and maintain good bone health.

Of all the minerals we need, calcium is the most abundant in the human body. Almost all of the body’s calcium (99%) is stored in bones and teeth. This is why recommended intakes increase during growth for children and teenagers. Calcium is also essential for muscles to work properly, for nerve transmissions and for hormone secretion at all ages. If we don’t get enough in our diet, the body takes it from our bones.

Dietary References Intakes for calcium

Age group Recommended Dietary Allowance Tolerable Upper Level
Babies – 0 to 6 months 200 mg/day* 1000 mg/day
Babies – 6 to 12 months 260 mg/day* 1500 mg/day
Children – 1 to 3 years 700 mg/day 2500 mg/day
Children – 4 to 8 years 1000 mg/day 2500 mg/day
Children and teens – 9 to 18 years 1300 mg/day 3000 mg/day
Adults – 19 to 50 years 1000 mg/day 2500 mg/day
Adults – 51 to 70 years (men) 1000 mg/day 2000 mg/day
Adults – 51 to 70 years (women) 1200 mg/day 2000 mg/day
Older adults – 71 years or older 1200 mg/day 2000 mg/day
Pregnant or lactating adolescents – 14 to 18 years 1300 mg/day 3000 mg/day
Pregnant or lactating women – 19 to 50 years 1000 mg/day 2500 mg/day

* Adequate calcium intake rather than recommended dietary allowance

Milk products, a natural source of calcium

According to Osteoporosis Canada, it’s better to meet our calcium needs with food. If that’s impossible, supplements should be considered. Because they are naturally rich in calcium, milk products are an excellent choice to meet our daily needs. Milk products are reliable sources of this nutrient, since the calcium they contain is highly available for the body to assimilate. They are also highly versatile and as such can be easily added to any meal or snack: white milk (fresh, powdered or evaporated), flavoured milk, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir... there is a wide variety of tasty options.

Other food sources of calcium include canned sardines and salmon with bones, almonds, sesame seeds, some legumes, a few green vegetables and some plant based calcium-fortified beverages or juices. These foods can help you complement your calcium intake, but since they often contain less calcium or calcium that is harder to absorb they do not replace milk products.

You want to increase your calcium intake ? These three recipes will surely please you:
Trio of Fruit Smoothies
Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Cheese
Ginger Lemon Fruit Dip

Nutrition tip: If you do not consume a lot of milk, you can use calcium-enriched milk products in our recipes to benefit from a higher intake.

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