The Secret to Healthy Bones

Plan your diet and grocery shopping so your bones stay healthy and strong. A well balanced diet made up of all the four food groups is the secret.

 MEAT AND ALTERNATIVES
Protein gives bone its strength and flexibility, and is the big component of muscles, crucial for maintaining mobility. Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2 – 3 servings of protein for those over 50. This can be beef, pork, poultry, and fish, and beans, lentils, tofu, egg whites, peanut butter, shelled nuts and seeds. Dairy products are also a good source of protein and calcium.

It’s easier than you think to eat well regularly. Try turkey slices or peanut butter on your morning toast. Have a boiled egg or a salmon sandwich with lunch. Try a chicken breast or a home-made hamburger patty with your supper.

 
VITAMIN D
Vitamin D helps build strong bones, partly by increasing the absorption of calcium. It also improves muscle function, improving balance and decreasing the likelihood of falling. Vitamin D comes from the sun, but because of our northern climate, Canadians don’t get as much sun as we need. There are few food sources of Vitamin D, which is why Osteoporosis Canada recommends a daily Vitamin D supplement for all adults year round. Ask your pharmacist what dosage is right for you.

 
CALCIUM
Bone is living tissue, constantly renewing itself. But the calcium so important to bone health is absorbed less effectively as we age. For those over 50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends 3 servings of milk and alternatives such as yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified beverages. Skim milk products provide as much calcium as whole milk. So take your pick. Have a glass of milk with your meal, soup that’s made with milk, main courses made with low fat cheese such as lasagne, or low fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit for dessert.


DO I NEED A CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT?
Some people just can’t seem to get enough calcium in their diet alone. Extra dietary calcium is not harmful, but getting more calcium than you need from supplements can be. Determine if you’re getting enough calcium from your daily diet, then discuss a supplement with your physician.


LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
Try lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk and other dairy products. A glass of lactose-free milk provides the same nutrients as regular milk.


DAIRY AND CHOLESTEROL
Some people avoid dairy products because they worry about cholesterol. You should know there are lots of low fat dairy products you can eat that will not raise your cholesterol. These include skim and 1% milk, low fat yogurt, 1% or 2% cottage cheese and 4% and 7% cheese. Read nutrition labels to be sure.

 

 

 

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