RDI’s or Recommended Dietary Intakes for Australians are an indication of how much of certain nutrients you need on a daily basis for general health and wellbeing. For calcium the amount you need mostly depends on age and gender, as seen below:
Recommended Dietary Intake for Australians
Source: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
Now that you know how much calcium is needed in your daily diet, why is it important to get enough?
Calcium is an essential mineral needed in the body for maintaining strong and healthy bones. It’s deposited onto our bones and strengthens the bone mineral density in the skeleton. 99% of calcium is found in bones and teeth, with the remaining 1% found in blood and soft tissue. So, when we don’t obtain enough calcium from our diets, the bones will become porous and weakened, leading to an increased risk of fractures. During periods of growth such as infancy and adolescence, extra calcium is needed for bone building.
Dairy foods are the most efficient way of getting calcium in our diet. However, for those who don’t eat dairy there are also plant-based sources available, such as dark green leafy vegetables like kale. For a detailed list outlining the calcium content of selected foods, follow the link: The calcium content of selected foods (PDF).