We want to make sure you maintain healthy and strong bones – so we’ve come up with a two-part series to address the various ways you can boost your bone health!
In this second installment, we’ll be looking at what you should be doing differently in your diet to keep your bones healthy with help from our nutritionist, Jacqui Justice!
Now we know what exercises we should be doing to stay strong, but what about our diets? After all, you are what you eat!
As I’m sure you know, calcium is an essential part of building and strengthening your bones. Our body loses calcium every day and can’t make anymore itself, so it’s our job to take in calcium through our food – so that the calcium doesn’t get taken from our bones instead. Vitamin D also plays an important role in strengthening your bones – it’s needed to properly absorb calcium – and if you’re lacking Vitamin D, you may have lower bone density and are at a higher risk of breaking a bone.
If you’re a woman who’s under the age of 50, you need 1,000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D daily. If you are above 50 years old, you need 1,200 mg of calcium and 800-1000 IU of Vitamin D daily. So how are you going to give your body those necessary minerals?
- Eat food that is high in calcium and Vitamin D, including cheese, yogurt, milk, fortified orange juice, sardines, edamame, eggs, salmon, tuna, leafy greens and fruits, as well as any foods that are fortified with these nutrients. For more specific tips on what to eat for what bone-strengthening nutrients, click here.
- Consider taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is harder to get through only your diet, so it may be in your best interest to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. It is recommended that you try to get the majority of your calcium from your diet, however. As for Vitamin D, you can produce more the more sunlight you get, but this may be a problem due to where you live or the risk of skin cancer. Some calcium supplements contain Vitamin D, so you may not need to take two different supplements to get these two bone-strengthening nutrients!
- Cut down on caffeine, salt and alcohol. Caffeine and salt force your body to get rid of calcium more quickly, so cut back and try to conserve your calcium levels. Alcohol gets in the way of your body’s ability to absorb calcium, so make sure to drink only in moderation.
- Pay attention to certain foods that may interfere with calcium absorption. Foods that contain phytates, too much protein or oxalates can get in the way of your body’s ability to absorb calcium from these foods. While they may be healthy for you otherwise, just know that they may not count as good sources of calcium.
- Don’t smoke. Amongst other health dangers, smoking interferes with your body’s estrogen production, which helps protect your bones!
Consult with your doctor or a nutritionist when changing your diet and deciding to take supplements to make sure that these changes are right for your body’s needs.
Image via http://11athletics.com