It’s really easy to take our bones for granted. I know I did until my mom was diagnosed with osteoporosis this year. That made me take a deeper look at how I was taking care of my own bones and what I needed to change.
Bones are actually living, growing parts of our body. And what we eat plays a huge part in how strong they are as we age. It’s important to get the right balance of calcium, vitamin D and other micronutrients to keep them strong and keep our bone mineral density high. Supplements can be helpful, but I always recommend getting your nutrients from food (preferably plants!) first. Plants aren’t just targeted at one nutrient like supplements are. They contain tons of phytochemicals that your body needs to build healthy bones – all in one tasty package.
Nutrition isn’t the only thing you can do. I’ve included a checklist with other tips for strong bones along with some tasty suggestions for meals to help you get the recommended amount of calcium (and bone building nutrients) every day.
Daily Checklist for Bone Health
- Get the recommended amount of calcium per day. Women under the age of 50 and men under 70 should be getting 1000 mg a day, and women over 50/ men over 70 should increase this daily amount to 1200 mg.
- If your intake doesn’t support meeting your calcium goals, consider taking a bone health supplement. Need help deciding what to take? Just get in touch here or visit my Dispensary to check out the bone health supplements that I recommend.
- Make sure to get plenty of vitamin D from fortified foods and salmon AND get outside in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes per day.
- Get enough magnesium each day (check the RDA recommendations for your age and gender), but take your calcium and magnesium separately, as they compete for absorption
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol excessively (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men)
- Get in 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise daily (weight lifting, yoga, running, walking, hiking, climbing stairs, playing tennis, dancing, etc). I recommend finding an exercise you LOVE doing!
Getting Your Daily Intake of Calcium
Not sure what to eat for bone health? When it comes to calcium, it actually takes a bit of planning to get up to 1,000 mg / day. For a little inspiration in the kitchen, here’s a sample day that incorporates calcium-rich foods into each meal.
5 oz yogurt (100 mg), topped with 4 figs (162 mg) and 1 cup of blackberries (42 mg)
Salad with 2 cups of kale (202 mg), lots of colorful veggies, ½ cup of chickpeas (52 mg), topped with 2 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds (16 mg) and your favorite dressing.
Chia seed pudding made with 1/4 cup of chia seeds (225 mg) and 1 cup fortified almond milk (450 mg), sweetened with your sweetener of choice and topped with berries (9 mg).
Broiled salmon (12 mg) with 1 cup sautéed broccoli with garlic (180 mg) plus two clementines (44 mg)
Total Calcium: 1,494 mg
Want To Create Calcium Rich Meals?
I’ve put together a list of foods that are rich in calcium. If you add several of these foods to your meals, you should be well on the way to meeting your daily calcium requirement each day and to having healthy bones.
GRAB YOUR LIST HERE!