A diet rich in calcium will make it less likely that you will need calcium supplementation. Dairy sources of calcium include milk (all types, from skim to whole to buttermilk), yogurt, and cheese (varies with type). It is important to check the serving size of the food you’re eating.
For example, Table 4 (Question 47) lists foods in descending order by the amount of calcium they contain. You will note that 8 ounces of low-fat plain yogurt contain 300 mg of calcium, but when you go to the supermarket, yogurt may be sold in a 6-ounce container, giving you less calcium.
Instead of listing the amount of calcium (in mg), some-times nutrition labels list the percentage of calcium that the food provides toward your recommended daily allowance (RDA). This RDA is actually based on 1000 mg of calcium.
So if a nutrition label says you are getting 30% of your daily amount of calcium, you are getting 300 mg. But if you are postmenopausal, that is only about 20% of the RDA for you.
Cheese presents an interesting comparison of calcium amounts. You have to eat 1 cup of cottage cheese to get the same amount of calcium in 1/4 cup of part-skim mozzarella.
As much as we would all love to credit ice cream with being a great source of calcium, there is generally only about 85 mg of calcium in a 1/2 cup serving. That’s not a good source, because it provides only about 6% of your required amount of elemental calcium but adds up to 170 calories to your daily calorie intake.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may need to be especially careful about getting adequate calcium because most calcium in a normal diet comes from dairy sources.
But you can still get adequate amounts of calcium from such foods as tofu (soybean curd), salmon, and sardines (with bones). Eating calcium-fortified cereal and orange juice will help increase your calcium intake without consuming dairy products.