Bone health isn’t something most of us think about. But we should, especially as we get older. Bones are living tissue that renew themselves naturally as old bone is replaced by new bone. Aging makes the process less efficient and we begin to lose bone density. Lose enough of it and your bones can become brittle with osteoporosis setting in.
So how can you have healthy bones? Make sure you’re getting enough calcium for starters. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources, along with dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach.
What are specific vitamins for bone health? Health Canada recommends between 1,000 mg and 1,200 mg of calcium per day for adults. But your body also needs vitamin D to absorb the calcium. You can get it 3 ways: via your skin through sunshine, from your diet, and from supplements. Health Canada recommends everyone over the age of 50 take a daily supplement of vitamin D (400 IU).
Most adults need about 600 IU to 800 IU — but that number can vary, especially if you are battling a disease. Ensure® products also provide calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are important to help you maintain bone health.
But what you eat is only part of it. Like muscles, bones need exercise to stay strong. The best kind are weight bearing exercises which force you to work against gravity, such as weight training, walking, jogging, and dancing.
Remember — consistency is key. But if you’re concerned about weak bones, check with your doctor about which exercises are safe for you.
- Health Canada. Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php#a10.