Shaklee is pleased to bring you the best nutrition articles, with permission from the Harvard School of Public Health, to help you lead a healthier life. This month, we're talking about the benefits of calcium and tips for building strong bones.
Calcium is key for healthy bones. Getting enough calcium from childhood through adulthood helps build bones up and then helps slow the loss of bone as we age.
Interestingly, milk isn't the only, or even the best, source of calcium. Good non-dairy sources of calcium include collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, baked beans, and supplements that contain both calcium and vitamin D (more beneficial for bone health than taking calcium ).
Here are 5 tips to help you get the right nutrition for your bones:
1. Look beyond the dairy aisle. Limit milk and other dairy foods to no more than one to two servings per day. More won't necessarily do your bones any good - and less is fine, as long as you get enough calcium from other sources. Calcium-rich non-dairy foods include leafy, green vegetables and broccoli, both of which are also great sources of vitamin K, another key nutrient for bone health. Beans and tofu can also supply calcium.
2. Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a key role along with calcium in boosting bone health. Look for a multivitamin that supplies 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day. If your multi only has 400 IU of vitamin D, consider taking an extra supplement to get you up to 1,000 IU or 2,000 IU per day.
3. Get active. Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise such as walking or jogging, is an essential part of building and maintaining strong bones.
4. Be careful about getting too much retinol (vitamin A). Don't go overboard on fortified milk, energy bars, and breakfast cereals, all of which can be high in bone-weakening vitamin A. Many multivitamin makers have removed much or all retinol and replaced it with beta-carotene, which does not harm bones.
5. Help your kids build strong bones. Youth and young adulthood is the period when bones build up to their peak strength. Helping youth lead a bone-healthy lifestyle - with exercise, adequate calcium, and adequate vitamin D - can help them keep strong bones through all their adult years.