Eating the right foods for a healthy body and bones

National Nutrition Month is a great time to think about the foods that build a strong healthy body, especially strong bones.

March is National Nutrition Month – a great time to think about the foods that build a strong, healthy body, especially strong bones. Eating the right foods can provide your body with the maximum bone strength and boost your bone density at any age. Foods with calcium and vitamin D are often forgotten, so here are some reasons to include them in your daily meals.

Calcium is the foundation of strong bones. Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams per day. Beginning at age 51 for women and age 71 for men, 1,200 milligrams is the daily requirement. The best source of calcium is milk. A single eight ounce cup of milk, whether skim, low-fat or whole, has 300 milligrams of calcium. However if you are not a milk drinker, a cup of yogurt is almost equivalent to as much calcium as an eight ounce cup of milk, or one ounce of Swiss cheese . If you are lactose intolerant you may be able to eat yogurt and hard cheeses without complications.

Milk and dairy products are not the only ways to receive calcium. According to the National Dairy Council another excellent source is sardines. All those little fish bones have just what you need to build bone mass in your own body. Eating three ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than one cup of milk. You can also use sardines in a favorite recipe to add flavor and nutrients. Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer many bone boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which assists in calcium absorption, and are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may also help bones. You might also try a fish oil supplement which has shown to reduce bone loss in women and may help prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium is plentiful in many vegetables. Michigan State University Extension recommends eating dark leafy greens high in calcium, such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, collard and turnip greens. One cup of chopped, cooked turnip greens has about 200 milligrams of calcium.

Salt is a major cause in depriving the body of calcium. The more salt you eat, the more calcium is carried away by urine. Sticking to a low salt diet can help you keep more calcium to strengthen your bones.

Regardless of your calcium source, there are many options to obtain it in your daily meals. Add these tips together for a great way to keep bones healthy and strong at any age.

To contact an expert in your area, visit people.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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