Frequently Asked Questions

12. How can I be sure I get enough calcium and vitamin D in my diet?

Getting Enough Calcium

Although foods rich in calcium are believed to be the best source, most American diets do not contain enough calcium. Fortunately, calcium-fortified foods and calcium supplements can help fill the gap, ensuring that you meet your daily calcium requirement.

Calcium is found in many foods. You can get recommended amounts of calcium by eating a variety of foods, including the ones listed here.

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for most people in the United States.
  • Kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are fine vegetable sources of calcium.
  • Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon, are fine animal sources of calcium.
  • Most grains (such as breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), while not rich in calcium, add significant amounts of calcium to the diet because people eat them often or in large amounts.
  • Calcium is added to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.

Build a calcium-rich diet with this list of calcium-rich foods.

Learn more about calcium requirements from the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH.

Getting Enough Vitamin D

Very few foods naturally have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets. In some cases, supplements may be necessary to meet the daily requirements. Here are some dietary sources of vitamin D.

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
  • Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.

Learn more about vitamin D requirements from the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH.