Calcium and vitamin D are the 2 key nutrients when it comes to building and maintaining healthy bones. Calcium combines with other minerals to increase bone density & strength, and vitamin D enables proper absorption of calcium.
Most of the calcium you consume is stored in your bones. Other than maintaining bone health, calcium also plays a significant role in muscle contraction, nerve function, clotting of blood, and maintaining heart rhythm. If you aren’t getting enough calcium from your food, your body has no other option but to take it out of your bones resulting in weak and brittle bones.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends about 800-1200 mg of calcium per day to keep your bones strong and healthy. Women generally require slightly more calcium than men, especially during pregnancy, lactation, and after menopause. For individuals that have osteoporosis, doctors may advise up to 1500 mg of elemental calcium a day in divided doses of 500 mg each.
Food rich in calcium are:
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.
- Fruits and vegetables such as oranges, dried figs, frozen collard greens and kale, beans, freshly cooked broccoli
- Seafood such as canned shrimp, salmon, & sardines
- Calcium-fortified breakfast foods such as different types of cereals and orange juice
Vitamin D allows your body to utilize the calcium effectively. Without enough of vitamin D, you will likely have low bone mineral density and become susceptible to fractures as you grow older. Important food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fatty fish such as salmon, vitamin D fortified milk & cereal.
Besides nutrition, incorporating other aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as regular weight-bearing exercise to improve bone strength, avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol to prevent low bone mineral density, and spending 20 minutes in sunlight to ensure your body gets enough vitamin D will help maximize bone health.
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.