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Bones. We were all born with them. And while many of us may go a lifetime without ever breaking or fracturing one, others of us have spent countless days and weeks—perhaps even months—donning some sort of cast or set of crutches. More often than not we take our bones for granted, when what we really should do is take a moment to fully learn about and appreciate all that they do for us. Our bone health should be one of our top priorities.

So why is bone health so important? For starters, bones are vital in protecting our body’s major organs. They also support the body and enable us to move around. Because the bones in our bodies are constantly under construction, there are a number of things we should do to ensure that they carry us for a lifetime. And there are two things that—when practiced together—can create a better chance that your bones will do just that: good nutrition and physical activity.

In fact, did you know that if your calcium intake is inadequate, your body will remove calcium from your bones? Over time, your bones can become more porous and fragile, which raises the risk of enduring a fracture. This will also put you at a greater risk of suffering from Osteoporosis.

What Exactly is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a global health problem that affects more than 200 million people. It is a medical condition in which bones become brittle and fragile over time and occurs mostly in people over age 50. Research has shown that a person’s bone health in the younger years predetermines bone health in the later years. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoporosis, but there are nutrients you can consume that will help slow its progress.

A bone-healthy diet consists of two major dietary components: calcium and vitamin D. In fact, most people need a daily intake of at least 1000mg of calcium, which translates to 3-4 servings a day from the milk group. Additionally, your vitamin D consumption should be between 400 to 600 IUs, but if you drink milk regularly, you’re probably consuming enough. Still, did you know that 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure between two and three times per week can help substantiate this vitamin D requirement? (Thank you, Sun!)

The following list of foods can help you achieve the calcium equivalence of 300mg per serving:

  • Milk 1 Cup
  • Yogurt 1 Cup
  • Cheese, Cheddar & Processed 1-1/2 oz.
  • Mozzarella 2 oz.
  • Cottage Cheese 2 Cups
  • Ice Cream 1-1/2 Cups
  • Tofu 8 oz.
  • Broccoli 2 Cups
  • Collards, Turnip Greens, Kale & Mustard Greens 1-1/2 Cups
  • Salmon, Canned ½ Cup
  • Orange Juice w/Calcium 1 Cup
  • Supplement 1 tablet

What About Calcium Supplements?

Certainly, our goal is to benefit from the actual food source when it comes to nutrition, but that isn’t always easy, especially when you may be traveling or dining out. And while most people’s food choices do supply them with adequate amounts of calcium, adults over 65 may require a supplement to reach the recommended intake of 1500mg per day.

Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Too much vitamin D can actually make your bones weaker. After all, we want to see you living your best life, which means enjoying trips to visit families and friends, not visiting your doctor’s office.

Content provided by Fleet Landing’s Registered Dietician Dabrina Moore.