Can I get enough calcium from foods to keep my bones strong? What foods are calcium rich?

The recommended daily calcium intake for adults is between 1,000 and 1,500 mg. However, no more than 800 mg a day should come from supplements. Keep in mind the body cannot absorb more than 500 mg at a time, so don’t be fooled by mega doses that some supplements offer. (Always consult with your doctor before adding any supplement to your daily healthy routine.)

A recent study evaluating Caucasian women between the ages of 55 and 69, who were followed for 22 years, showed that higher intake of calcium (900 mg per day) and iron supplements in particular increased the risk of death. However, when calcium was taken at less than 900 mg per day, it actually reduced the risk of death by 3.9 percent.

The bottom line: Don't take a supplement you don't need. These concerns do not apply to natural food sources of calcium.

If you take a supplement, experts advise to stay in the low dose range while increasing your calcium food sources, such as yogurt, skim milk, kale, salmon, figs, broccoli, spinach, tofu, oats, prunes, asparagus, collard greens and skim-milk cheese.

Also, keep in mind that calcium is not the only mineral needed for better bone health. Vitamins C, D, K and other minerals, such as magnesium and boron, help strengthen bones, too.

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