Build your bones

Bones make me think of calcium. 99% of calcium in our bodies is stored in bones and teeth. Our bones are always remodeling. During growing years the bone formation far exceeds bone resorption. The reverse is true as we age, especially in postmenopausal women. Bone loss is far greater than formation and leads to risk of osteoporosis. So build your bones while young!

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is greater for teenage girls than boys (1300 mg vs 1000 mg per day). Adult men and women need 1000 mg /day whereas women over 50 and men over 70 need 1200 mg/day. Most commonly known source of calcium in our diets is dairy foods. June is National Dairy month.  It started out as National Milk Month way back in the 1930’s to help promote drinking milk. Dairy products are a natural nutrient dense. They contain quality protein, calcium, potassium and are commonly fortified with Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

A cup of low fat milk or yogurt provides 300-400 mg of calcium. An ounce of cheese also provides about 300 mg. There are other sources of calcium too such as sardines (325 mg/3oz),  Chinese cabbage (74 mg/cup) , tofu (250 mg/4 oz), spinach and broccoli. Most grains are not good sources naturally. Many grain products such as flour, cereals are fortified with calcium. Our body’s capacity of absorption of calcium depends on the amount of elemental calcium consumed at a time (among other things). So in case you take calcium supplements, take no more than 500 mg at a time. Give your body a chance to absorb and use the most.

And don’t forget exercise! Weight bearing exercises help you build the bone mass.  You have to engage in weight bearing activities daily. Try yoga, walking, low impact aerobics. You don’t have to start running marathons, just walking 30 minutes every day will do. Build your bones before you turn 50 and then keep up the calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis.