With all that is going on in the world and our ever changing new normal it can be challenging to get into a consistent routine with our eating. Some people are now starting to address the weight they may have gained while gyms have been closed, others are trying to cook more at home and reduce the amount of fast food they get delivered to the house. With so many things to think about, often the health of our bones gets overlooked. Osteoporosis is most common in people over 50 but it can strike at any age. 2 million Canadians are affected by osteoporosis. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than strokes, heart attacks and breast cancer combined. Osteoporosis can negatively affect our lives as it impacts our mobility, independence and self-esteem. There are several things you can do to promote bone health and prevent bone loss.
Your peak bone building years start at age nine and continue until 16-20 for girls and 20-25 for boys. You maintain this bone mass until your mid 30’s when bone density starts to decline. Calcium and Vitamin D help build and maintain strong bones. Doing weight bearing activity is also important.
Your body uses calcium every day so you need to consume calcium every day, otherwise your body will steal it from your bones. You need 1000mg of calcium and 600-1000 IU vitamin D per day (or 1200mg calcium and 800-2000 IU Vit D if you are over 50).
Here are some easy ways to add calcium to your diet:
1 cup Milk (300mg calcium) – make soups with milk instead of water, have cereal and milk for a snack and drink a glass at dinner.
1 cup Tropicana Essentials (300mg calcium)– make overnight oats, use it in a smoothie, enjoy a glass with breakfast or add it to plain yogurt for flavor and nutrients.
3/4c Yogurt (250mg calcium) – have it as a snack, top it with berries and granola or use it in your smoothie with fortified OJ for an extra calcium punch.
1/4cup almonds (150 mg calcium)- 1/4c is about 23 almonds. Enjoy them as a snack with dried apricots, toasted they are delicious on steamed green beans or in a quinoa salad.
½ cup canned salmon with the bones (320 mg calcium)- put salmon on your salad, add it to a casserole or make a salmon sandwich with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo, celery and spinach leaves
1 cup Broccoli (50mg calcium)-delicious in a stir fry, raw with yogurt dip or chopped in a salad with apple and walnuts. Note: broccoli is not a great source so you would want to include it with other higher sources of calcium. You would need 6 cups of raw broccoli to get the same amount of calcium in a glass of milk.
Weight bearing exercise: walking, running, weight-lifting, hiking and yoga to name a few, are all great weight bearing activities. (note: swimming is not weight bearing). You don’t need to do an hour, but every little bit counts. Take the stairs, walk the dog or pop in to the gym after your swim. Even carrying groceries is weight bearing!