Improve your bone and heart health and lose weight by increasing your calcium intake.
Step 1: Know how much you need Know how much calcium you need. Adults require 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Children age 4 to 8 need 800, and kids 9 to 18 1,300. Men and women over 50 should get 1,200.
TIP: Do not exceed 2,500 milligrams per day. Too much calcium can damage your kidneys and interfere with the absorption of other essential minerals.
Step 2: Eat more dairy Eat at least two servings of dairy foods each day. A cup of skim milk or yogurt or 1½ ounces of cheddar cheese provides nearly a third of what you need.
Step 3: Drink fortified juice Drink a cup of calcium-fortified orange juice with breakfast to gain another third or more of your daily calcium.
Step 4: Eat more dark greens Eat dark green vegetables. A cup of spinach has almost as much calcium as a cup of milk, and collard greens have more.
Step 5: Eat bony fish Eat canned sardines and salmon with bones to gain another 20 to 30 percent of your daily calcium per serving.
TIP: Cut down on caffeine to get more calcium from the foods you eat.
Step 6: Get enough vitamin D Get enough vitamin D. To absorb calcium your body needs this vitamin, found in fortified milk, cereals, and juices, and fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel.
Step 7: Take a supplement Take a supplement if you can't get enough calcium from your food. For better absorption, take half in the morning and half in the evening.
FACT: Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, making up three and a half percent of it.