For calcium absorption and retention, whole foods are your best bet. Integrative nutritionist Amanda Archibald, RDN, founder of The Genomic Kitchen, recommends a diverse selection of calcium-rich foods that also deliver nutrients, including vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium — all of which support calcium bioavailability.
“Bone is a matrix of nutrients, so we need to eat a wide variety of healthy foods,” she says. “No single food can do it all. That’s not how the body operates.”
Archibald recommends dairy only in cultured form, such as unsweetened yogurt, kefir, or aged cheeses. “Don’t make dairy your go-to for calcium,” she says. “Make it a side conversation, not the focus.” (For more on why dairy can be problematic, see “The Trouble With Dairy” in “Are You Getting Enough Calcium?”)
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences recommends a daily calcium intake of 1,000 mg for women between 19 and 50 years old, and 1,200 mg after that. Men are advised to consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily until age 70, and 1,200 mg afterward. (These values, some skeptics note, are influenced by the dairy industry.)
This originally appeared as “Healthy-Food Sources” in “Got Calcium?” in the October 2018 print issue of Experience Life.