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Learning to Take Care of Your Bone Health With Good Nutrition

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Many women—and men—are concerned whether they are getting enough calcium in their diet. Should I take a supplement, or am I getting enough in my diet? Calcium is linked to being an essential nutrient for bone health. Because bones are a living tissue and are in a constant state of turnover making calcium deposits and withdrawals daily, adequate calcium intake is important. Vitamin D is also essential for strong bones. It is needed to help absorb calcium and to optimize bone health. 

When meal planning, choose nutrient-rich foods that make a healthy foundation for your well-balanced diet and provide essential nutrients that fuel workouts and activities of daily living. Nutrient-rich foods and beverages help make the calories you consume count more because they provide a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals for relatively fewer calories.

Look for ways to incorporate calcium and vitamin D3 rich foods to your daily meal plan to help provide more nutrition in every calorie. Strive to include two to four servings of dairy per day. Food calcium is absorbed best.

Here are different ways to boost calcium intake:

  • Prepare oatmeal with nonfat milk or yogurt, or pour milk over high-fiber cereal (1 cup milk or 6 oz. yogurt yields 300 mg calcium)

  • Top whole-grain toast or English muffin with a slice of low-fat cheese (1 oz. cheese yields 200 mg calcium)

  • Blend a fruit smoothie: fruit, nonfat milk or yogurt.

  • Top a baked potato with nonfat yogurt, low-fat cheese or low-fat 1% cottage cheese (1/2 cup cottage cheese yields 80-150 mg calcium)

  • Enjoy a nonfat latte instead of black coffee; a 12-ounce latte can add 300 mg of calcium

  • Add nonfat dry milk to foods such as puddings, hot cereal, mashed potatoes and casseroles. (1 Tbsp. = 60 mg calcium)

No matter what your age, it is never too late to invest in your bone health. Adolescence is the prime time to build strong bones. Your bones are like a bank account; the more calcium you deposit when you are young (under age 30), the more you have to draw from later.

Cooper Clinic recommendations for daily calcium intake:

  • Women, ages 19-50: 1,200-1,500 mg

  • Women, ages 51-70+ or low bone density: 1500 mg

Cooper Clinic recommends 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. There are few foods containing vitamin D and fairly low levels, therefore supplementation might be needed. Talk to your doctor about the specific dose you need. 
Food sources of vitamin D:

  • Salmon, cooked (3.5 oz)  360 IU

  • Milk, fortified with vitamin D (1 cup) 100 IU

  • Egg yolk, 1 large  20 IU

To maintain strong bones, get enough calcium and vitamin D3 in your diet. Stay active with weight bearing exercise and get 15 minutes of sunlight several times a week.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, click here or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services