That is the question. Especially for women in post-menopausal years, I hear this question a lot. And it's a great question! You want to keep bones healthy but want to avoid unnecessary supplements. So here are my two cents:
The recommended daily allowance of calcium for any adult age 19-50 years old is 1,000 mg per day.
For women over age 50 years old and men over age 70 years old, the recommendation increases to 1,200 mg.
To give some context, 1 cup of cow's milk contains 300 mg calcium. But did you know that dairy is not the only way to get your daily calcium, nor is it the best?! Calcium is actually absorbed better AKA more bioavailable when not in dairy form.
1 cup of cooked collard greens also has 300 mg calcium
1 cup cooked spinach has 250 mg
1/2 cup almonds has 375 mg
1 cup salmon with bones (try canned!) has 490 mg
1 cup mackerel with bones has 600 mg
1/2 cup sardines with bones has 500 mg
These are the big wigs. 1 cup of broccoli, navy beans, pinto beans, and sunflower seeds each have roughly 150 mg of calcium. Calcium is everywhere! Keep in mind that the body only absorbs 500 mg of calcium at a time.
Calcium is an important nutrient for healthy bones, teeth, and heart. Enough calcium helps prevent fractures and keeps the heart pumping strong. However, if you take in too much calcium in a day it can cause constipation, affect absorption of other nutrients, like iron and zinc, and increase the risk for developing kidney stones.
Because we haven't established a doctor-patient relationship, I can't give specific advice about what supplements you should take, but if you have questions, please feel free to schedule a 20 minute phone consultation with me (free of charge) and we can talk about what supplements and nutrients would be best for you.