By

A member of the British Dietetic Association, Juliette Kellow has worked in the NHS and for the food industry, and is the former editor of magazines Slimming and Top Santé. She's also the former editorial...

Easy ways to get your daily calcium fix

IT TAKES A LOT MORE than a glass of milk to get enough calcium for strong bones and teeth – although it’s a good place to start!

Who’s missing out?

Most commonly a problem seen in teenagers – around 8% of teenage boys and 19% of teenage girls have very low calcium intakes – as well as 8% of women and 5% of men.

Important for

Calcium is vital to build and maintain bones and teeth – it also protects teeth from acid attack. Also important for muscle, nerves and bloody clotting, studies show calcium may help to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease.

Find it in

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais are the most popular sources of calcium. However, it’s also present in oil-rich fish with edible bones, nuts, seeds, bread, green leafy veg, oranges and dried fruit.

How do I know if I’m getting enough?

Unfortunately, the signs of calcium deficiency tend not to appear until you’re older, when it takes the form of osteoporosis – where bones are so weak they’re prone to fracturing. According to the National Osteoporosis Society, one woman in two and one man in five over the age of 50 will break a bone – mainly due to osteoporosis – and there are around 3 million sufferers in the UK. This means it’s more vital than ever to make sure children and young people are meeting their calcium needs.

Boost your calcium intake

  • Low-fat dairy products have the same amount of calcium (or a little more) as full-fat varieties.
  • Make cappuccinos or lattes with skimmed milk. Or try a low-fat, milky hot choc before bed.
  • Enjoy a shake for breakfast by whizzing milk with fruit and oats.
  • Add a handful of unsalted nuts to your cereal – almonds contain more calcium than any other nut.
  • Enjoy sardines on toast, but mash up the edible bones first.
  • If you choose dairy alternatives, such as soya or almond milk, check they’re fortified with calcium.
  • Serve yogurt as a dessert or add to curries to boost calcium.
  • Swap pasta with tomato sauces for lasagne – the cheese sauce has eight times more calcium.