“Drink your milk so you can have strong bones and teeth!” This is a phrase most of us heard from our parents or guardians at breakfast time. However, did you know you can get your recommended intake of calcium without dairy, too? Continue reading to see just how much and where you can get your calcium intake.

Our bones contain most of the calcium in our bodies. With weak bones, your body can develop osteoporosis and increase the risk of high blood pressure.

So, how much calcium should you consume each day? You need calcium at every age, but the amount can vary.

Children ages:

  • Less than 12 months old: 260 mg
  • 1-3 years old: 700 mg
  • 4-8 years old: 1,000 mg
  • 9-18 years old: 1,300 mg


  • 19-50 years old: 1,000 mg
  • Greater than 51 years old: 1,200 mg
  • If pregnant or breastfeeding: 1,300 mg


  • 19-70 years old: 1,000 mg
  • Greater than 71 years old: 1,200 mg

How can you get calcium? There are many foods that contain calcium, but the most commonly known foods are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. If you’re lactose intolerant, those are not an option for you without additional complications. Be sure to check your food labels as they list the percentage of calcium for the daily need. Other food items to try include, but are not limited to, are:

  • Almond or soy milk
  • Orange juice
  • Tofu
  • Collard and turnip greens
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Salmon

If you still need an extra boost in your calcium intake, be sure to speak with your primary care physician as they can check with a simple blood test.

Don’t have a primary care provider? Use UofL Health’s provider finder to find the right fit for you today!

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Shannon Lynn, M.D.

Shannon Lynn, M.D., earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Louisville. She completed her residency at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis in Internal Medicine. Dr. Lynn practices Internal Medicine at UL Medical Center East. Dr. Lynn has been recognized numerous times by her peers as a Louisville Magazine Top Doc and most recently she was named a finalist in 2021 Best of the Best Courier-Journal Community Choice

All posts by Shannon Lynn, M.D.
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