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What Foods Have Calcium And Vitamin D

People At Risk Of A Vitamin D Deficiency

Healthy & Natural Foods That Contain Calcium And Vitamin D ( Calcium & Vitamin D Foods List)
  • Breastfed Infants Who are Not in the Sun – The amount of vitamin D in breast milk depends on the amount of vitamin D in the mother. However, breast-milk typically does not contain adequate amounts of vitamin D. Be sure infants get some exposure to the sun to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D.
  • Older Adults – As skin ages it is less and less able to make vitamin D from the sun, so vitamin D has to be attained from foods or supplements.
  • People With Little Sun Exposure on the Skin – Wearing sunscreen, or lots of clothing, hampers the production of vitamin D from the sun.
  • People with Darker Skin – Melanin, a pigment found in skin, reduces the body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D from the sun.
  • People who have Problems Absorbing Fat – Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means it is found in fats, and your body has to be able to digest fats in order for you to absorb the vitamin D.
  • People Taking Certain Medications
  • Steroid Corticosteroid medications used to alleviate inflammation can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism.
  • Weight-loss drugs with orlistat as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs with cholestyramine can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Medicines used to treat epileptic seizures, particularly phenobarbital and phenytoin, interfere with Vitamin D and reduces calcium absorption.

Top 10 Foods High In Calcium & Their Benefits

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and almost 99 percent of the bodys calcium is stored in the structure of the bones and teeth. The truth is, though, many of us arent eating enough foods high in calcium.

How do you benefit from eating high-calcium foods? Foods that provide calcium support functions including bone building, nerve conduction, heartbeat regulation, muscle contractions and weight maintenance not to mention prevent calcium deficiency. In order for your body to properly absorb and use calcium, you also need other essential nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K. This is exactly why its best to get the calcium you need from real food sources, or complex food-based supplements in some cases or calcium-fortified sources, rather than taking isolated calcium supplements that arent always absorbed well.

As you get older, or if youre pregnant/nursing or dealing with a condition that depletes calcium, youll benefit from getting extra calcium in your diet. Lets dive in to the best foods high in calcium, how they work to support overall health and some ways that you can use these high-calcium foods in recipes.

What Fruits And Vegetables Are High In Vitamin D

Vegetables high in vitamin D include mushrooms which have been exposed to sunlight. Other vegan foods high in vitamin D include fortified soy products like tofu, soy milk, and soy yogurt, fortified cereals, and fortified juices.

Unfortunately, no fruits are high in vitamin D, and fortified orange juice is currently the only fruit product commonly sold with vitamin D.

Also Check: What Vitamin D3 Does To Your Body

What Is The Recommended Daily Amount Of Calcium And Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, but you do not have to take calcium and vitamin D at the same time. For the best absorption of calcium, make sure you get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D recommendations vary from province to province. Talk with your doctor about how much vitamin D you need.

Health Canada recommendations for calcium and vitamin D by age

*Adequate intake rather than recommended dietary allowance

Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of supplements are right for your child. Although breastfed babies get the best possible nutrition, they do need vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D for babies is usually a liquid supplement that you add to a bottle of breast milk with a dropper or drip into your baby’s mouth.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as other women their age.

Health Canada and Osteoporosis Canada recommend that Canadian adults over the age of 50 take daily vitamin D supplements.footnote 1

Vitamin D And Calcium The Dairy Free Way

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Milk and dairy products are excellent sources of essential nutrients, including vitamin D and calcium both of which are important to staying strong and healthy at any age. But many people dont eat or drink these foods due to lactose intolerance, allergic reactions, ethical reasons, or taste preferences and seek to find these nutrients elsewhere.

If you use dairy alternatives like soy milk and coconut yogurt, its important to make sure you get enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet. Fortunately, these two key nutrients can be found in many non-dairy sources.

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Sardines And Canned Salmon

Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with calcium, thanks to their edible bones.

A 3.75-ounce can of sardines packs 35% of the RDI, and 3 ounces of canned salmon with bones have 21% .

These oily fish also provide high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart, brain and skin .

While seafood can contain mercury, smaller fish such as sardines have low levels. In addition, both sardines and salmon have high levels of selenium, a mineral that can prevent and reverse mercury toxicity .


Sardines and canned salmon are exceptionally healthy choices. A can of sardines gives you 35% of the RDI for calcium, while 3 ounces of canned salmon packs 21%.

How To Get The Right Amount

Figuring out the right calcium with vitamin D3 dosage can get pretty tricky, especially since the guidelines can vary based on a number of different factors. The calcium and vitamin D recommendations for osteoporosis, for instance, may differ from the recommendations for pregnancy or weight loss, and your specific needs can vary based on your age and health status.

Generally, most adults need between 1,0001,200 milligrams per day of calcium. This can come from calcium foods, calcium supplements or a combination of both. Meanwhile, adults typically need about 600 IU of vitamin D per day, which increases to 800 IU per day after the age of 70. However, many recommend taking a higher dosage calcium and vitamin D supplement, especially if youre at a higher risk for deficiency. In some cases, vitamin D doses can range up to 5,000 IU per day. Be sure to use supplements only as directed, and talk to your doctor if you suspect that you may have a deficiency to find the right dosage for you.

Besides determining your dosage, finding the best calcium and vitamin D supplement to fit your needs can also be tricky. Select vitamin D3 over vitamin D2 whenever possible, and be sure to take supplements with food to help maximize absorption. Additionally, opt for calcium citrate instead of calcium carbonate, which can minimize potential side effects and ensure you get the most from your calcium tablets.

Read Also: What Vitamins Are In Almond Milk

Which Foods Contain Calcium

Foods that are high in calcium include:

  • Milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese
  • Fortified plant-based beverages such as fortified soy beverage
  • Tofu made with calcium sulfate
  • Canned fish with bones such as salmon and sardines

Other sources of calcium include:

  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame seeds
  • Beans such as white beans and navy beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and Chinese cabbage

Aim to include several of these foods each day to meet your calcium needs. If you don’t eat foods high in calcium daily, it may be hard to meet your needs.

Do These Micronutrients Have Any Other Health Benefits

Top Foods for Calcium and Vitamin D

In addition to playing key roles in bone health, vitamin D has been shown to support a healthy digestive system, as well as to promote basic metabolic functions in the body. Calcium also has other health benefits beyond supporting bone health. An important mineral for oral health, calcium promotes tooth and gum health. Additionally, calcium is key for proper nerve signaling and muscle function.

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Calcium And Vitamin D Requirements

This article is all about the calcium requirements for adults, also view: Children Calcium Requirements

Sufficient amounts of calcium are required for bone strength. The body uses calcium for the heart, blood, muscles and nerves. Without the proper amount of calcium intake, the body will strip calcium from the bones where it is stored, causing the bones to get weaker. It is estimated that 55% of men and 78% of women over age 20 in the U.S. do not get enough calcium in their diet.1 It is important to note that since the human body cannot produce its own calcium, adequate calcium intake is vital.

Tuna Swordfish And Salmon Are All Good Sources Of Vitamin D

Are you getting enough vitamin D in your diet? This nutrient is important for growing healthy cells, keeping your immune system humming to ward off illness, and aiding in calcium absorption so your bones stay strong. It also helps prevent the bone disease rickets in children, and with calcium, the so-called Sunshine Vitamin can help guard against osteoporosis in older adults, the National Institutes of Health notes.

Vitamin D is produced in your body when the suns ultraviolet rays hit your skin, and the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 international units , which is 15 micrograms for most adults, according to the NIH. For those older than 80, the RDA is 800 IU .

Yet most people dont get enough vitamin D via sunlight, nor is food a good source of the nutrient, says Lori Zanini, RD, a Los Angelesbased dietitian.

People typically dont exceed 288 IU per day from diet alone. Even if you drink milk fortified with vitamin D, 8 fluid ounces has only 100 IU one-sixth the amount that you need daily. No wonder 41.6 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, per a study. A vitamin D deficiency means you have 20nanograms per milliliter or less of the nutrient in your blood. If you are nonwhite, obese, or do not have a college education, you may be at greater risk for being vitamin D deficient. Your healthcare provider can test your blood to find out for sure.

RELATED: Do You Need to Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

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How To Get Enough Calcium In Your Diet

Calcium is another key nutrient necessary for good bone, dental and blood health. Calcium also has other roles in the body, helping with muscle contraction and relaxation, blood clotting, and enzyme, hormone and nerve functions. Aside from dairy, soy products such as tofu , tempeh, and soy beans are a source of this nutrient. Other foods that contain calcium are dark leafy greens , almonds, sesame seeds and white beans. The soft bones of some canned fish such as salmon and sardines are also a source of calcium. Like vitamin D, some foods have added calcium . The recommended amount of calcium from food and supplements is 1000 mg a day for adults up to the age of 50.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D And Calcium

Nigerian foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D

1. Strengthen Bones

Improved bone health is one of the biggest benefits of calcium and vitamin D. In fact, bone loss is one of the most notable vitamin D and calcium deficiency symptoms, which could potentially lead to issues like osteoporosis, a condition that increases the risk of fractures by causing bones to become weak and brittle. According to one study out of Ireland, calcium is necessary for supporting the health and structure of the bones, while vitamin D helps boost calcium absorption, promotes calcium balance in the body and maintains skeletal integrity.

2. Support Healthy Pregnancy

Both vitamin D and calcium are absolutely essential for ensuring a healthy pregnancy and fostering fetal growth and development. One large trial out of South Carolina found that taking 4,000 international units of vitamin D per day was safe and effective for pregnant women, noting that a deficiency could cause serious issues like neonatal seizures and adverse effects on pregnancy. Similarly, another review reported that calcium supplementation during pregnancy could reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia by 52 percent and may also be linked to a lower risk of pre-term birth, plus a higher birthweight.

3. Promote Weight Loss

4. Could Help Protect Against Cancer

5. Enhance Heart Health

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Vegetables And Fruit Can Provide Calcium

In addition to milk, some vegetables contain enough calcium to meet a portion of the bodys daily calcium needs. This is especially helpful for those who choose diets rich in vegetables and/or avoid dairy products. Although a good source, vegetables may not provide the total daily recommended amounts of calcium. Soy-based products, bread, fish with bones and supplements can be used to help meet the daily amount, if needed. To determine if you are getting enough calcium on a daily basis, try the Calcium Calculator put out by the Dairy Council of California.

There are numerous vegetables and fruits that contain calcium-some more than others. Many calcium-rich vegetables can be grown in Michigan. Some calcium-rich fruit can be grown in Michigan however, tropical fruit sources of calcium can still be purchased from markets.

The Role Of Vitamin D

The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol . This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.

You can get vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from the diet and from supplements. Experts recommend a daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D up to age 70. Men and women over age 70 should increase their uptake to 800 IU daily, which also can be obtained from supplements or vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and fortified milk. The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 4,000 IU per day for adults. However, sometimes doctors prescribe higher doses for people who are deficient in vitamin D.

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Nof Recommends The Following Three Steps For Bone Health:

  • Aim to get the recommended daily amount of calcium you need from food first and supplement only as needed to make up for any shortfall. Use our calcium calculation tool to estimate your daily calcium intake from food and review our list of calcium-rich foods for new ideas to help you incorporate calcium in your diet.
  • Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising and not smoking or drinking too much alcohol.
  • If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, work with your healthcare provider to determine an appropriate treatment plan that includes calcium, vitamin D, safe exercise and medication. Follow your plan and consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to stop taking your supplements or medication.
  • Tips To Get The Most Vitamin D And Calcium Out Of A Dairy Free Diet

    Foods with calcium and vitamin D to take care of your bone health
  • Eat a variety of foods containing calcium and vitamin D. This will help you get enough of these key nutrients your body needs to thrive.
  • Add acids such as vinegar or lemon juice to your food to help your body absorb nutrients like calcium. Try adding a zingy dressing to your salad of dark leafy greens.
  • Look for fortified versions of items on your grocery list. Try fortified soy, almond and rice beverages, orange juice, or even cereal.
  • Speak to a Registered Dietitian if you have any concerns about whether youre getting enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet. Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 toll free anywhere in British Columbia.
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    Do Calcium Supplements Really Work

    What kind of calcium should you take if youre worried about being calcium-deficient? Research suggests that supplements are not ideal for getting more calcium because there may be potential negative effects of calcium supplements especially when taken in high doses and when someone is not getting enough vitamin D, magnesium and other key nutrients.

    A 2015 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine states, Most studies show little evidence of a relationship between calcium intake and bone density, or the rate of bone loss calcium supplements appear to have a negative risk-benefit effect, and so should not be used routinely in the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. There may also be a link between high levels of calcium and hardening/stiffening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Very high levels of calcium can also interact with drugs intended to treat heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and other conditions, plus contribute to kidney stones. For those reasons, most experts now agree that the ideal way to get calcium is from a healthy diet that includes various sources of calcium.

    Spiced Quinoa With Salmon & Eggs

    Tuna, mackerel and salmon are ideal sources of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health, the immune system and muscle function, among other things. Quinoa is the new superfood that everyone is talking about is a must-try this year if you have not already discovered it. To get you started, try this quick recipe to put a little spice into your Spring.


    • 1 head broccoli, divided into florets
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled & quartered
    • 2 grated carrots
    • 100g baby spinach roughly chopped
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 4Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • Mix the harissa paste and 500ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Meanwhile, cook the salmon in a saucepan by covering with boiling water and simmering for 4-5 minutes before setting aside with the lid on for another 5 minutes to steam. Drain the salmon, then flake it into the quinoa.
  • While the salmon is cooking prepare the broccoli, cooking in boiling water for 4-5 minutes until tender but crisp. Drain and add to the quinoa along with the remaining ingredients.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar, tighten the lid and shake well until mixed. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and lightly toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with mint springs. Enjoy!
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