Difficulty digesting milk, which is called lactose intolerance, and stomach upset caused by dairy products may be more common as you age. If that's the case, yogurt with active cultures, buttermilk, cheddar and Swiss cheeses also are high in calcium but low in lactose, the culprit milk sugar. Many people mistakenly believe they are lactose intolerant when a simple sensitivity to dairy products or some other food substance is really the case; therefore, it's wise to check with your health care professional before you avoid dairy products. Products that contain lactose (such as Lactaid) can help people with lactose intolerance to consume dairy products.
To supplement your diet, you may wish to take calcium tablets. The most common and least expensive is calcium carbonate, which is found in antacid preparations for treating heartburn. Multivitamins generally do not provide enough calcium to meet the daily needs of a postmenopausal woman. In fact, the mineral calcium isn't always included in a multivitamin preparation, so be sure to read the label if you are relying on your vitamin supplement for calcium. To increase calcium in your diet, you may wish to take calcium supplements. Check for the elemental calcium content to add to your average daily intake.
Your diet should also be rich in vitamin D. This nutrient helps your body absorb calcium more efficiently and minimize bone loss. While vitamin D is synthesized into the skin from exposure to sunlight, you certainly don't want to spend hours soaking up the sun. You'll find plenty of this essential vitamin in fortified milk and cereals, as well as vitamin supplements. If your exposure to sunlight is limited, you may want to consider increasing your average intake of vitamin D. At least 400 units (I.U.) of vitamin D daily is recommended for menopausal women, but it's wise to talk to your health provider about your particular needs. Higher doses up to 800 IU may benefit women over the age of 65.