Why do we need it? It builds strong bones and teeth, and helps maintainthe health of muscles and nerves.

How much do you need? 1000mg a day, increasing from 1300mgafter you turn 51.

You can obtain the daily requirement from: 200g of low-fat yoghurt + 100g tinned salmon + 1bowl of fortified breakfast cereal + 50g of almonds + one orange + one slice oflow-fat cheese = 1000mg of calcium.

Consider a supplement if osteoporosis runs in the family orif you don’t eat dairy.

Need to know facts:

  • “Some non-dairy foods contain calcium or arefortified, but if you don’t eat dairy, you need to be more aware of what ittakes to meet your daily calcium requirements,” says naturopath,herbalist and nutritionist from Sydney’s Nature Care College, MichelleAvedissian.
  • If you take a supplement, split the dose andtake morning and night with food. “The stomach needs a certain amount of acidto absorb calcium, and eating creates this,” says Avedissian.
  • Vitamin D, mainly from sunlight, is essentialfor calcium absorption.
  • Caffeine and the phosphate in soft drinksinterfere with calcium absorption.
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