Osteoporosis, which means porous bones, is most commonly caused by low levels of calcium and minerals in the bones. The bones become so weak and brittle that even the mild stress of bending over can cause a bone fracture. Keeping bones healthy with a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein can prevent this debilitating condition.
Milk is a good source of both calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is an essential mineral needed to maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for calcium absorption. There is not a naturally high concentration of vitamin D in most foods, so you will need to look for products that are fortified with it.
Canned Salmon and Sardines
Canned salmon and sardines with bones are two sources of calcium. The delicate and edible bones that are present in these packed fish are rich in calcium and magnesium. One 3.5 ounce serving contains two-third of the amount of calcium in one cup of milk.
Calcium is deposited and withdrawn from bones daily. Bones continue to build up to the age of 30. A good source of calcium is cheese. During the adolescent growth spurt years, the daily recommendation is 1,300 mg of calcium. An easy way to achieve this goal is to have three 8 ounce servings of dairy. One and a half ounces of natural cheese or two ounces of processed cheese count as one serving.
Green Leafy Vegetables and Broccoli
Kale, collards, turnip and mustard greens join broccoli as foods which are good sources of calcium. One cup of turnip greens is packed with 190 mg of calcium while a similar serving of kale follows at 135 mg. Broccoli does not have as high a concentration. But this can be enhanced by adding an ounce or two of cheese to one cup of steamed broccoli.
Tuna canned in water is a source of both calcium and vitamin D. A can of tuna contains 14 mg of calcium and 80 IU of vitamin D. It is also a convenient source of protein, a nutrient important for bone health. As we age, our daily requirement for vitamin D increases. By the age of 50, a person’s daily need doubles from 200 IU to 400 IU.