In honor of May being National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month,, Lauren Dimitrov, Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Expert, talks to us about how food & nutrition can improve our bone health.
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by low bone density. People with low bone density stand a greater chance of fracturing their bones. The aim of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month is to promote good bone health through the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis.
Through Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, people are encouraged to understand the risk factors associated with this condition. Preventative measures which promote healthy bones include sufficient calcium intake, achieving adequate levels of vitamin D, and ensure high intakes of fruits and vegetables, while keeping sodium intake low.
Do you get enough of these? Let’s find out!
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
- Most people should aim for 1,000 milligrams (mg) calcium per day
- Older adults (especially women after menopause) need more calcium, because bones lose calcium as we age. After age 50, healthy adults should aim for 1,200 mg calcium per day
- The amount of calcium you get daily from the combination of food and supplemental calcium should not exceed 2,500 mg
High Sources of Calcium (300 mg per Serving)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice
- 1½ oz low-fat natural cheese
- 1 cup ready-to-eat pudding
How much Vitamin D Do You Need?
You need about 50 mcg (2,000 IU) per day of vitamin D. Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Milk: 8 oz has 2.5 mcg
- Margarine: 1 Tbsp has 1.5 mcg
- Yogurt: 1 cup has 1-2 mcg
- Some brands of juice; the amount varies
- Egg yolks: 1 yolk has 0.625 mcg
- Fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon: 3 to 4 oz has 9 mcg
Watch your other nutrients
Have 5 to 6 oz lean meat or beans each day. These foods provide the protein your bones need. Also, don’t forget your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin K, and potassium to strengthen bones.
A lower-sodium diet helps the body keep calcium, instead of losing it in urine. In general, foods with more than 300 mg sodium per serving may not fit into a lower-sodium meal plan. Be sure to check the nutrition label.