Calcium is only stored in your bones, although it is essential for many different parts of the body, such as muscles and nerves.
If you don't eat enough calcium, it will be taken from your bones to other parts of the body where it is needed. As we get older, we absorb less and less calcium from our food. This means we actually need to eat more calcium as we get older.
People who smoke, who drink a lot of caffeine and soft drinks, and who eat a lot of meat, absorb less calcium from their diet than others.
Milk, yoghurt, cheese, salmon, sardines, tahini, figs, almonds and brazil nuts are all good sources of calcium.
Bread, cereals, fruit and green vegetables such as broccoli and bok choy also have calcium, although not as much.
The following menu is an example of a typical day's eating that would help you reach the recommended intake of calcium (1300 mg per day).
- Breakfast: Toast or muesli plus a tub of low fat yoghurt
- Lunch: Wholemeal sandwich with cheese, chicken and salad
- Dinner: Pasta or rice with tinned salmon or tuna and vegetables such as peas, broccoli and carrots.
Snacking on fresh or dried fruit, cheese, and nuts and a glass of milk/soy milk each day will make up the rest. Calcium - enriched breads, juice and milk can be good sources for additional calcium.