All teenagers from the ages of 10-18 years old require approximately 1,000 mg of calcium per day in order to maintain strong bones and teeth.

“Calcium is also important for other body functions like regulating your heartbeat and muscle contractions,” says Christine Ong, Senior Principal Dietitian, from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Excellent sources of calcium are predominantly dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.

What does high calcium mean?

You will notice that milk with ‘high calcium’ stated on its packaging will likely have been fortified with additional calcium, such that each cup (250ml) of milk will contain 500mg of calcium.

Without additional fortification, regular milk products will likely contain between 250-300mg of calcium per cup.

Other fortified products that are high in calcium include:

  • ‘High-calcium’ soya milks
  • Calcium-enriched 3-in-1 malt drinks
  • High-calcium milk bread.

It will be useful to check the food labels of products in order to determine the calcium content of foods. The table below displays other foods apart from milk and dairy products that may be good sources of calcium:

​Item ​Serving Size ​Calcium Content (mg)

​Tofu
Tofu

​1 carton​200
​Chickpeas
Chickpeas
​1 cup​210
​Sardine (including bones)
Sardines
​1 medium​250
​Dried Figs
Dried Figs
​5 ​140
​High-Calcium Biscuits
High-Calcium Biscuits
​1 packet​138

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium better

Adequate vitamin D is essential for optimal calcium absorption. Our bodies can get adequate vitamin D, mostly by exposure to the sun. Thus, it is important to spend 10-15 minutes outdoors every day (but avoiding the hottest periods from 11am-3pm to reduce risk of heat stroke or skin cancer).

However, for people with limited sun exposure, their diet becomes an important source of vitamin D.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include:

  1. Milk,
  2. Salmon,
  3. Mackerel,
  4. Sardines,
  5. Eel,
  6. Egg yolk
  7. Fortified margarine.

Ref: N18