Low-fat, or nonfat, yogurt is a great source of calcium at about 400 milligrams per cup. (Low-fat and nonfat yogurt and other dairy foods are usually no different in calcium content than full-fat versions.) Bone-strengthening calcium becomes increasingly important in your 50s. So much so that the recommended level increases from 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Why? From age 30 on, cells that build bone become less active while those that dismantle bone keep working. And then that loss is accelerated during menopause due to decreasing estrogen.
Other ways to get calcium: Milk (1 cup skim, 306 mg), cheese (1.5 ounces, about 300 mg), kale (1 cup cooked, 179 mg), spinach (1/2 cup frozen then cooked, 99 mg) and calcium-set tofu (tofu prepared with calcium salts; check the label) are all good sources. Also, remember that calcium and iron compete with one another for absorption so it’s best not to eat them together at the same meal. That said, your iron needs actually decrease in your 50s (from 18 to 8 milligrams/day) because of menopause.