A calcium-rich diet helps us maintain bone density as well as good overall health.

However, it is also important to provide enough vitamin D. It is crucial in the absorption of calcium from food. It also has to do with bone strength, muscle tone and strength, the risk of falls and fractures. 

1. Food sources of calcium and vitamin D.

The best way to get more calcium is by improving your diet. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, are good sources of the mineral. Other foods that are high in calcium are:
  • spinach;
  • kale;
  • okra;
  • cabbage;
  • soybeans;
  • bob;
  • fish - sardines, salmon, perch, trout;
  • foods fortified with calcium, such as orange juice, oatmeal and cereals.
Vitamin D
The vitamin is formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet rays of sunlight. Its production is influenced by the seasons, the duration of sun exposure, the use of sunscreen, skin pigmentation, eating habits and more. 
A survey showed that 76% of Bulgarians are deficient in vitamin D.
It is much more difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources, its content in most products is scarce. According to studies, we usually get only about 20% of the vitamin from the food we eat.
Products that provide it are:
  • codliver oil;
  • oily fish, such as tuna, mackerel and salmon;
  • liver;
  • cheese;
  • eggs;
  • foods fortified with vitamin D - some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals. 



2. How much calcium and vitamin D do we need?

Everyone in adulthood needs to consume at least one bucket of yogurt or 100 g of white brined cheese a day, which contain enough calcium. In the elderly, this dose is doubled - two cups of yogurt or 200 g of cheese. 
According to Ordinance 23 of the Ministry of Health on the physiological norms for nutrition of the population, the recommended daily intake of calcium is:
  • for children aged 1-3 years - 500 mg;
  • children from 3 to 7 years - 800 mg;
  • children aged between 7 and 10 years - 1000 mg;
  • children from 10 to 19 years - 1300 mg;
  • from 19 to 60 years - 1000 mg;
  • over 60 years - 1200 mg.
Vitamin D
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for children is 200-600 IU (international units), and for adults - 200-1000 IU.
To get vitamin D from food, the best option is fish, experts say. 100 g of cooked salmon, for example, contains over 360 IU. 
If there is an established risk of osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D.