How much calcium does a person need per day? —E.W., Central Falls, Rhode Island
Everyone needs calcium, but just how much depends on your age. Your body stores 99% of its calcium in your bones and teeth to keep them strong. The remaining 1% is in your blood and tissues and is essential for life and health. However, if your body isn't getting enough calcium from the food you eat daily, the blood and tissues will automatically absorb the amount they need from your bones.
To prevent this, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends individuals get the following amounts of calcium every day:
1-3 years/500 mg
4-8 years/800 mg
9-18 years/1,300 mg
19-50 years/1,000 mg
51+ years/1,200 mg
An easy and tasty way to add calcium to your diet is to drink milk and eat milk products like cheese and yogurt. Green leafy vegetables such as cooked spinach, kale and turnip greens are also a good source, as are sardines with bones.