Adding Calcium to Your Diet

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You can get enough calcium in your diet even if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, are lactose intolerant, follow a low-fat diet, or just don't eat dairy products. A combination of the foods listed in this section will enable you to get enough calcium in your diet while suiting your particular needs.

Milk Products. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 recommends that adults drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or consume the equivalent each day. One cup of milk is equivalent to 1 cup of yogurt, 11 ounces of hard natural cheese, 2 cups of cottage cheese, 1 cup of frozen yogurt, or 11 cups of ice cream.

Calcium Content of Selected Milk Products


Serving Size



Milk, 1% low-fat

1 cup


290 mi


Milk, 2% reduced-fat

1 cup


285 mi


Yogurt, plain, low-fat

1 cup


448 mi


Yogurt, vanilla, low-fat

1 cup


419 mi


Cheddar cheese, low-fat

1/ ounces


176 mi


Ricotta cheese, part-skim

/ cup


335 mi


Cottage cheese, 2%

2 cups


312 mi


Cottage cheese, 1%

2 cups


276 mi


Ice cream, chocolate

1/ cups


216 mi


Frozen yogurt, chocolate

1 cup


174 mi


Consuming three servings of milk products each day does not have to add a lot of calories and fat to your diet if you choose low-fat products most often. For example, consuming 1 cup of 1 percent milk, 1 cup of low-fat plain yogurt, and ounces of low-fat cheddar cheese provides you with 914 milligrams of calcium (and only 330 calories).

Calcium-Fortified Foods. If you do not consume milk products, it is recommended that you consume foods fortified with calcium, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, calcium-fortified energy bars, calcium-fortified soy products, and other calcium-fortified nonmilk beverages, such as those made from rice and nuts. Some gluten-free grain foods (including breads, bagels, and granola cereals) also are fortified with calcium. Products include those made by Enjoy Life Foods and Glutino. For a listing of manufacturers of enriched and fortified gluten-free foods, please see Appendix C.

As you can see from the following table, calcium-fortified versions of soy milk and orange juice are comparable in calcium content to milk products.

Calcium Content of Calcium-Fortified and Unfortified Foods

Food Calcium-Fortified


1 cup soy milk 368 milligrams

93 milligrams

1 cup orange juice 351 milligrams

27 milligrams

Other Nonmilk Foods That Are Sources of Calcium. If you do not consume milk products or calcium-fortified foods, it is especially important to eat other food sources of calcium.

Calcium Content of Selected Foods





V2 cup

174 milligrams

Collards (cooked)

V2 cup

133 milligrams

Soybeans (green, cooked)

V2 cup

130 milligrams

Spinach (cooked)

V2 cup

122 milligrams

Ocean perch (cooked)

3 ounces

116 milligrams

Soybeans (mature, cooked)

V2 cup

88 milligrams

White beans (cooked)

V2 cup

81 milligrams


1 ounce (23 nuts)

75 milligrams

Trout (wild, cooked)

3 ounces

73 milligrams


1 tablespoon

64 milligrams

Navy beans (cooked)

V2 cup

63 milligrams

Great Northern beans

V2 cup

60 milligrams


Halibut (cooked)

3 ounces

51 milligrams


1 tablespoon

41 milligrams

Pinto beans (cooked)

V2 cup

39 milligrams

Chick-peas (canned)

V2 cup

38 milligrams

Orange sections

V2 cup (approxi

38 milligrams

mately 1 small orange)

Broccoli (chopped, cooked)

V2 cup

30 milligrams

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