Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth, and the proper functioning of the heart. A low intake of calcium has been associated with osteoporosis, which weakens the bones of our body and can lead to fractures.
Our bones increase in strength and density from childhood until our mid- 20s. Bone mass increases by about sevenfold from birth to puberty, threefold during adolescence, and then remains stable until about age 50 in men and until the menopause in women. This affects how much calcium we need at different stages of our lives
Who needs more and why?
Dairy products are the richest source of calcium. This includes milk, cheese and yoghurt. Yellow-topped milk has extra calcium added. A number of non-dairy foods also contain calcium, including fortified soy and rice milks, tofu, sardines, some nuts (such as almonds), sesame seeds, broccoli, and fortified breakfast cereals and juices.
Foods such as spinach, rhubarb, beans, seeds, nuts and wholegrains also
contain calcium but also contain oxalic or phytic acid which reduces the amount
of calcium that can be used by the body.
How much do we need to eat?