Many of us grew up being constantly reminded to drink milk. And why is that? Because of the calcium.
You may have quit drinking milk a long time ago but you should still have other sources of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
We can start losing our bone density as early as in our 20s. A well-balanced diet with good sources of calcium and vitamin D can help slow it down.
How much do you need?
Adults age 19 to 50 need about 1,000 mg each day. Women, who are between the age of 51 and 70 need about 1,200 mg of calcium each day.
Creating a bone-healthy pantry
Milk may be a popular calcium source but it’s not the only food product where we can get calcium and other nutrients for bone health. There are other products, some are more shelf-stable, which can help promote stronger bones. These include:
Canned sardines and salmon
Canned sardines and salmon, as long as you eat them with the bones, are good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium.
Both are inexpensive and very versatile. You can make them into patties to make burgers, make sandwiches and delicious pasta dishes with them, or throw them to your salads.
Dark, leafy greens
Dark leafy, green vegetables like collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens are also good for your bones.
Aside from calcium, you can also get magnesium from them, which helps in preserving bone structure.
If shelf stability is a concern, a good option would be no salt added or low sodium canned greens.
When sweetening food, try swapping your typical white sugar with molasses. Unlike table sugar, you can get calcium from molasses. There’s 41 mg of calcium in 1 tablespoon of it.
If you’re not a fan of dairy, soymilk can be a very good option.
In one study, it showed that getting soy protein, whether from food or supplements, can help protect older women from osteoporosis. Women are more prone to osteoporosis after menopause because of the decline in estrogen (this hormone is shown to protect against bone loss).
There are two less-known nutrients for bone health that are present in sweet potatoes – magnesium and potassium.
When you’re low in magnesium, you can have problems with your vitamin D balance. Potassium, on the other hand, helps keep calcium from leaching out of your bones.
Almond butter is an easy and delicious way to boost your calcium intake. A serving of it (about two tablespoons) provides you with 111 mg of calcium.
Prunes may be something you know that others eat to stay regular but this dried fruit has been shown to help slow down the breakdown of bone in your body.
When taking care of our bones, we must see it as saving up for our retirement. We would want to start banking up as early as we can to prevent unwanted consequences.
If you have concerns about your bone health, talking to a specialist can guide you on what to do.
At Ozark Orthopaedics, we have orthopedic experts who have years of experience in this field. You may request an appointment by calling us at (479) 521-2752.