You are here

Clover Leaf Tuna, Salmon & Sardines 'Trace My Catch'!

Calcium & Vitamin D for Your Bones

Calcium & Vitamin D for Your Bones

Healthy eating is one of the top ways you can keep your bones strong throughout your lifespan. To help keep your bones strong your body needs a balanced diet with a variety of foods, especially foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D.


You can treat your waistline and your wallet equally well.


Calcium is the most important mineral for your bones since it helps to build new bone mass when we are young, and preserve it when we get older. Many people fall short in calcium so read on to be sure you are getting enough from food and/or supplements. The top sources of calcium include canned salmon, canned sardines, milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy/rice beverages, some green veggies, almonds, tofu and some grains1.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for proper absorption of calcium and therefore can significantly affect your bones if you don’t get enough. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” since we synthesize it in the skin after sun exposure. However, the use of sunscreens, older age, living in northern latitudes as well as changes in sun exposure in the winter months make it hard for us to get enough vitamin D1. There are only a few food sources that are rich in vitamin D such as fatty fish, milk, eggs and tofu.

How Much Calcium & Vitamin D do I Need?2


Daily Calcium Goal


Daily Vitamin D Goal


0-6 months


210 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


7-12 months


270 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


1-3 years


500 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


4-8 years


800 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


9-18 years


1300 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


19-50 years


1000 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


51-70 years


1200 mg


10 mcg (400 IU)


>70 years


1200 mg


15 mcg (600 IU)






14-18 years


1300 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


19-50 years


1000 mg


5 mcg (200 IU)


If you have osteoporosis your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D. The Canadian Medical Association and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1500 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D for treatment of osteoporosis3. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what is best for you to ensure you are getting enough.

What are the Best Sources of Calcium & Vitamin D?4

Top Sources of CALCIUM




½ can (123g) canned sockeye salmon, solids with bone & liquids


420 mg


1 cup (250 ml) calcium fortified orange juice


371 mg


1 ½ oz (50g) hard cheese


360 mg


1 cup (250 ml) fortified soy/rice beverage


319 mg


1 cup (250 ml) milk


307 mg


100 g medium or firm tofu (prepared with calcium sulfate)


231 mg


¾ cup (175g) fruit flavored yogurt


214 mg


½ can (46g) Atlantic sardines, drained solids with bones


176 mg


1 cup (250 ml) Baked beans


150 mg


60 ml (36g) Almonds


89 mg


1 cup (250ml) Broccoli


44 mg


Calcium Supplements





Top Sources of VITAMIN D


Vitamin D


½ can (123g) canned sockeye salmon, solids with bone & liquids


24 mcg (960 IU)


100 g raw Atlantic Salmon


6 mcg (240 IU)


100 g raw Atlantic/Pacific Halibut


3.8 mcg (152 IU)


1 cup (250 ml) milk


2.6 mcg (104 IU)


1 cup (250 ml) fortified soy/rice beverage


2.2 mcg (88 IU)


1 tbsp. fortified margarine


1.9 mcg (76 IU)


2 large eggs


1.3 mcg (52 IU)


100g light tuna in water, drained


1.2 mcg (48 IU)


½ can Atlantic Sardines, drained solids with bones


1.1 mcg (44 IU)


Vitamin D supplements




For a more detailed list of calcium and vitamin D found in foods, click on this link to download The Nutrient Value of Common Foods (Adobe® Reader® is required), or visit Health Canada’s Canadian Nutrient File at

Should I Take a Supplement?

Talk to your doctor and/or dietitian about calcium and vitamin D supplements and they can help you decide if you need a supplement and how much to take.

More Information

For more information on osteoporosis and bone health visit our article Keep Your Bones Strong.


1National Institute of Health Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases National Resource Centre

2Dietary Reference Intakes. Health Canada

CMAJ. 2002 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada. Nov. 12, 2002; 167 (10 suppl).

Health Canada Canadian Nutrient File: