Build strong bones

Salmon has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of sockeye salmon contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin D.

Salmon has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of sockeye salmon contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin D.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

When it comes to building and keeping strong bones, two key nutrients are necessary — calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports the bones and teeth structure, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth. These nutrients are especially needed early on and later in life. If you have brittle and breaking bones, or osteoporosis, taking plenty of calcium and vitamin D may slow the disease and prevent fractures.

Adults up to age 50 should get 1000 mg of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. After age 50, adults should get 1200 mg of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D.

In addition to supplements and sunshine, you can get these nutrients by eating foods for healthy bones. These include: egg yolks, milk and cheese, sardines, salmon, spinach and collard greens, and ascorbic acid, which may help with calcium absorption.

Most people get their vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but certain foods, such as yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D.

Although one egg yolk only contains 6 percent of the recommended daily vitamin D, it is a quick and easy way to get some. Eight ounces of fat-free milk (about 90 calories) will provide 30 percent of your daily calcium. Choose a brand fortified with vitamin D to get double the benefits. Cheese is full of calcium and calories. Just 1.5 ounces (the size of a set of dice) of cheddar cheese contain more than 30 percent of your daily value of calcium. Most cheeses also contain a small amount of vitamin D.

Sardines have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Salmon has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of sockeye salmon contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin D.

Spinach and collard greens are another way to get calcium. One cup contains almost 25 percent of your daily calcium, plus spinach has fiber, iron and vitamin A. Orange juice does not have calcium or vitamin D, but it is often fortified with these nutrients. Studies have shown that the ascorbic acid in orange juice may help with calcium absorption, so you may get the benefits from this fortified drink.

 

Sources: cnn.com, niams.nih.gov and paulamee.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 5, October/November 2013.

 

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