How can I get enough calcium?

The German Osteology Association (DVO) recommends that adults get between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) of per day. You can get this amount in your diet by consuming foods and drinks that have in them. Food products that are particularly high in include cow's milk, yoghurt, cheeses like gouda and emmental cheese, green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, as well as calcium-rich mineral water (more than 150 mg per liter). Dairy products made from low-fat cow's milk also contain a lot of . Some food products, such as certain breakfast cereals and juices, are fortified with .

If you eat and drink the following foods over the course of one day you will get a total of about 1,000 mg of :

  • 2 slices of rye bread or whole grain bread,
  • 2 slices of gouda, edam or emmental cheese,
  • 1 serving of broccoli,
  • 2 glasses of mineral water, and
  • 1 pot of yoghurt (200 g).

or

  • 2 glasses of milk (200 ml each),
  • 2 slices of rye bread or whole grain bread,
  • 2 servings of camembert cheese, and
  • 1 serving of spinach.

or

  • 1 pot of yoghurt (200 g),
  • 1 serving of muesli (50 g),
  • with milk (100 ml),
  • 1 slice of rye bread or whole grain bread,
  • 1 slice of gouda, edam or emmental cheese,
  • 1 serving of green cabbage, and
  • 1 glass of mineral water.

If you do not drink cow's milk or eat dairy products made from cow's milk, it will be considerably more difficult for you to get enough in your diet. In that case, suitable sources of would include green vegetables like spinach leaves, green cabbage, fennel and broccoli, as well as soy milk, nuts, calcium-rich mineral water and food products that are fortified with .

This table can help you to calculate roughly how much you get in a typical day:

Cow's milk and dairy products made from cow's milk

Food product  Serving size Calcium in mg/serving
Cow's milk, Kefir 200 ml (1 glass) 240
Yoghurt 200 ml (1 pot) 260
Quark  35 g 40
Gouda or
edam cheese
30 g (1 slice) 240
Emmental or
alpine cheese
30 g (1 slice) 330
Camembert cheese 30 g 150
Parmesan cheese 30 g 360
Brie cheese 30 g 80
Sheep's cheese,
Feta cheese 
30 g 135

Vegetables

Food product Serving size Calcium in mg/serving
Broccoli (cooked) 110 g 120
Spinach (cooked) 210 g 310
Green cabbage (cooked) 160 g 280

Bread, muesli

Food product Serving size Calcium in mg/serving
Rye bread, whole grain bread 1 slice 10
Muesli 50 g 25
Breakfast cereals 50 g 80

Drinks

Food product Serving size Calcium in mg/serving
Natural mineral water 200 ml 70
Soy milk 200 ml 210

For example, one pot of yoghurt (200 ml) contains about 260 mg , and one serving of cooked spinach contains about 310 g .

Please note that this table only includes food products that have a particularly large amount of in them. A lot of other food products contain too and contribute to your total intake, but usually to a lesser extent.

Dietary supplements are not included in the table. If you are taking a supplement that contains , that will increase your intake accordingly.

You can also use our online calcium calculator to find out roughly how much you are getting per day. The calculator is not suitable for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Dachverband der Deutschsprachigen Wissenschaftlichen Osteologischen Gesellschaften (DGO). Prophylaxe, Diagnostik und Therapie der Osteoporose bei postmenopausalen Frauen und bei Männern. AWMF-Registernr.: 183-001. 2017.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. (DGE), Österreichische Gesellschaft für Ernährung (ÖGE), Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Ernährungsforschung (SGE), Schweizerische Vereinigung für Ernährung (SVE). Referenzwerte für die Nährstoffzufuhr. Bonn: DGE; 2017.

World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Vitamin and mineral requirements in human nutrition. Second edition. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2004.

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Updated on October 18, 2018
Next planned update: 2021

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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