For women older than 50: 1,200 milligrams a day
But...Amy J. Lanou, Ph.D., senior nutrition scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), one of my favorite organizations out there, suggests 500 to 800 milligrams day and preferably from dairy-free food sources. A higher calcium intake is unnecessary and, if it comes from supplemental sources, may cause constipation and negatively impact the absorption, production or metabolism of other nutrients.
Dairy foods (cheese and ice cream in particular) are highly acidic. The body prefers a slightly alkaline pH to neutralize the acidity from dairy which pulls calcium from the bones. Hip fracture rates are highest where calcium intake from dairy foods is highest, including in the U.S. and Northern European countries. (Remember that!)
Here are some non-dairy sources of calcium:
300 mg of calcium per 8 oz
Can be used in recipes and smoothies
Two cups = 60 mg of calcium
It has a peppery, slightly bitter taste and can be used in salads or even to make pesto.
Two cups = 80 mg of calcium
Three cups (for kale crisps) = 270 mg of calcium
My favorite smoothie addition. Scored No. 1 in a ranking of 84 veggies by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C.
One tablespoon = 90 mg of calcium and only 52 calories
Sprinkle over salads or sauteed greens.
Two cups = 210 mg of calcium
Saute turnip greens like spinach. I love when my favorite CSA has them available!
One medium orange = About 70 mg of calcium and 60 mg of the antioxidant vitamin C
Eat oranges whole and fresh; the fruit's rind and membranes protect the juice from oxygen, which destroys fragile vitamin C.
Two cups = 120 mg of calcium
Jam-packed with vitamins K, A and C, a triple threat of antioxidants that battle the effects of aging and disease. Raw or cooked, the pungent green works as a side or combined with casseroles or stir-fries. .
Figs and Prunes
Two dried figs have 60 mg of calcium and two prunes have 40 mg of calcium
They do have high concentrations of sugar, so it’s best to eat them in small portions, and with nuts or whole grains so you’re getting additional fiber and protein to help maintain steady blood sugar.
Prunes provide boron and potassium, two elements that help suppress the breakdown of bone.
1/4 cup (28g) = 70 mg of calcium
Even if you don't want to drink almond milk, you can always toss back a handful of almonds throughout the day to prevent the peaks and valleys of blood sugar levels.