Calcium Builds Bones, Fights Disease

Calcium plays a role in building and maintaining strong bones—but did you know that it also helps to fight other diseases? Let Giant Eagle® show you the best dairy, fruits and vegetable choices to ensure your proper daily calcium requirements are met.
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The National Dairy Council recommends three servings of dairy-rich foods per day.

Research shows that calcium helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, obesity and other conditions that can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Calcium also helps to offset the effects of high blood pressure.

Milk contains the most calcium per serving, with 300 milligrams in eight ounces. And it’s an excellent source of Vitamin D (a companion to calcium in bone health). Calcium is also found in:

  • Other dairy foods, including yogurt and cheese – both full and reduced-fat
  • Sweet desserts made with milk-like pudding, ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • Green vegetables like broccoli, collards, kale, turnip greens and bok choy
  • Canned salmon and sardines
  • Almonds, dried figs, soybeans and other beans

The National Dairy Council recommends three servings of dairy-rich foods per day, though the need for calcium varies with age:

  • Ages 1 to 3…….. 500 milligrams
  • Ages 4 to 8.……. 800 milligrams
  • Ages 9 to 18……. 1300 milligrams
  • Ages 19 to 50…… 1000 milligrams
  • Older than 50….. 1200 milligrams
  • Pregnant and nursing mothers.…1000 milligrams

If You Cannot Eat Dairy Products

Do you suffer from lactose intolerance or a milk allergy? Many foods are fortified with calcium – the label will indicate the source on the ingredient list. And the Nutrition Facts Panel on each food gives you the amount of calcium in one serving. Remember, 30% Daily Value of calcium is the same amount as an eight-ounce glass of milk.

Here are some dairy-free alternatives:

  • Soy beverages (soy milk) as well as rice and almond milk and soy yogurt —  these can be used interchangeably with cow's milk and often contain added Vitamin D
  • Tofu — if it is made with calcium sulfate or fortified
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice and other 100% juices
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cereals— Whole Grain Total, Total Raisin Bran, Total Cranberry Crunch, and Total Honey Clusters all have 100% DV of calcium per serving!
  • Calcium-fortified spreads (margarine) and bread

Read tips for preventing osteoporosis.

Need help in finding food sources to meet your calcium needs? Ask a Giant Eagle Registered Dietitian. E-mail us at


How to Choose Your Cheese

Not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to calcium content. Parmesan has the highest amount: 386mg per ounce (38% RDA), followed by Romano and Gruyere. Other high-calcium cheeses include Swiss, part-skim ricotta, American, provolone, part-skim mozzarella and cheddar. Let the cheesemongers at the Giant Eagle cheese shop help you select the best choice for your appetizer, main dish or dessert.

Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®

National Dairy Council

Important Physician Advice Disclaimer: The content provided by Giant Eagle®, including but not limited to, website, recipe and health information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician for professional guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under the age of 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.