Think supplements alone can prevent and treat calcium deficiency and help reduce osteoporosis risk? Well, think again. Research recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that calcium is best absorbed the old-fashioned way—from food, which supplies nutrients that help the body absorb and use this essential mineral.

Calcium isn’t just found in dairy products—try dark-green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, collards, turnip greens, Chinese mustard greens and Chinese cabbage flower leaves, or go for salmon, tofu and white beans, which are also high in calcium. You can also start your day with calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice and breakfast cereals.

But don’t throw out your vitamins yet—calcium supplements can help. Down calcium daily with meals, ideally in doses of 500 mg or less. Adults ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg/day; those 51 and up need 1,200 mg/day.