Bone and Joint Action Week takes place from October 12 through October 20. The purpose of this campaign is to bring awareness about the importance of prevention, management, and treatment of bone diseases. When most people think of bone health, they think of calcium. We can think of our bones like a calcium “bank account”. Bones are living tissues that are constantly making deposits and withdrawals daily. If your daily intake of calcium is low, then your body will take calcium from your bones in order to keep blood calcium at normal levels.
Focus on Food First
When possible, it is best to obtain calcium from actual food sources over supplements. Our bodies absorb calcium better from foods, especially spread out throughout the day.
When shopping, read the Nutrition Facts label and select foods that contain 10% or more of the daily value for calcium. Foods that are naturally high or fortified with calcium may be labeled as “calcium-rich” or “excellent source of calcium.”
Tips to Increase Calcium Intake
- Follow an overall healthy eating plan using MyPlate as a guide.
- Drink an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk or a calcium-fortified beverage, such as soymilk, with your meals.
- Make oatmeal with milk or a calcium-fortified beverage.
- Eat 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit for breakfast or a snack.
- Top a baked potato with steamed broccoli and shredded low-fat or fat-free cheese. For additional calcium, substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
- Add calcium-rich greens (for example, collard greens, turnip greens or kale) to meals.
- Enjoy ½ cup cooked soybeans or five dried figs for a snack.
- Make a breakfast shake by blending milk or a calcium-fortified beverage with fruit and a green, like spinach.
- Enjoy calcium-fortified tofu, or soybeans, almond butter, and tempeh as a plant-based protein options.
- When selecting 100% fruit juices and ready-to-eat cereals, choose ones fortified with calcium.
More Tips for Bone Health
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
- Ask your physician if you need a bone density test based on your risk factors for osteoporosis or if you are a woman over 50.
- If you need a calcium supplement, choose one that also contains vitamin D, which will aid in calcium’s absorption.
- Be physically active with weight-bearing activities such as running, dancing or weight training.
Written by Victoria Luera, Lone Star Circle of Care Registered Dietitian. Published by Ashley Wild.