Approximately 8 million American women have osteoporosis, a disease that weakens and thins bones, leaving them fragile and prone to breaking.
What you eat plays a key role in bone health, since our bodies rely on nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D to build and maintain strong bones. Not getting enough of these bone-building nutrients can greatly increase your risk of low bone mass.
The government recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1,000 mg if you’re between the ages of and 1,200 mg if you’re above 51. And all women between the ages of 13 and 70 should be getting 600 IU of vitamin D each day.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D in our diets. But the good news is that there are plenty of delicious foods you can choose from to help keep your bones healthy.
Eat yogurt any time of day for a calcium fix. You’ll get a host of other nutrients, too, including bone-strengthening protein and energizing B vitamins.
Cheese naturally contains calcium and is often fortified with vitamin D. With so many kinds to choose from, finding one (or several!) you like can be a fun experiment.
Drinking milk isn’t just for kids. Gulping down a glass of milk is an easy way for people of all ages to strengthen their bones. Look for milk that’s fortified with vitamin D to double up on bone-building nutrients.
Dairy products aren’t the only dietary sources of bone-strengthening nutrients. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard are all high in calcium and highly nutritious.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Serve up some baked salmon on a bed of sauteed greens for a bone-boosting dinner.
Many brands of orange juice contain added calcium and vitamin D, along with nutrients such as potassium and folate.
Almond butter offers a high amount of calcium per serving. It’s also full of protein and good-for-you monounsaturated fats, and contains no cholesterol. Enjoy almond butter on a piece of whole grain bread, slathered on a banana or with apple slices for dipping.
Eggs offer a healthy dose of vitamin D. But if you opt for egg-white omelets, you won’t reap this benefit — vitamin D is only found in the yolks. Omelets are a delicious opportunity to eat your eggs and get some vegetables at the same time.
If you’re worried that dietary changes alone might not be enough to keep your bones strong, talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can discuss options for supporting bone health and preventing osteoporosis.