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Maintaining and Improving Bone Health

Maintaining and Improving Bone Health

Knowing how to maintain your physical well-being has several long-term benefits, especially when thinking about bone health. Agility, stamina and pain management can all be important aspects of your health when thinking about maintaining strong bones. Whether you’re interested in learning more about bone health for your little one or you’re hoping to take away some tips for yourself, below we’ll cover some tips on getting enough calcium through meals, as well as other tips to consider.
 
Getting enough calcium is one of the most important factors in building strong bones. Acquiring the recommended amount of calcium in any diet has benefits such as:
  •  Helping children build strong bones
  • Minimizing the amount of calcium loss from bones in adults
  • Helping adolescents and young adults achieve peak bone mass
  • Maintaining blood pressure in people of all ages
Even so, many adults and kids don’t get enough of this important mineral. Bone up on the information below to make sure you and your family get the recommended amount of calcium. Below we cover some of the recommended calcium intake based on age.
Life Stage
Recommended
Amount
Birth to 6 months
200 mg
Infants 7-12 months
260 mg
Children 1-3 years
700 mg
Children 4-8 years
1,000 mg
Children 9-13 years
1,300 mg
Teens 14-18 years
1,300 mg
Adults 19-50 years
1,000 mg
Adult men 51-70 years
1,000 mg
Adult women 51-70 years
1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older
1,200 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens
1,300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults
1,000 mg
*Source: Institute of Medicine, 2010

Ways to Get Enough Calcium

  • Start with the Dairy Group. Dairy Group foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt are packed with calcium. MyPlate recommends 3 cups of Dairy Group foods daily (2 cups for 2-3 year olds, 2 ½ cups for 4-8 year olds). Choose low fat or fat free varieties. Try these ideas:
    • Wake up with a fat free latte (half coffee, half fat free milk).
    • Tote a yogurt in your lunch.
    • Snack on a reduced-fat 2% milk cheese stick and whole grain crackers.
    • Try a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup made with milk instead of water.
    • Satisfy your sweet tooth with Jell-O Instant Pudding, prepared with milk.
  • Look beyond the dairy case. Calcium-fortified cereals, fruit juices, soymilk, bread and cereal bars are other sources of calcium. Look for products that say “Calcium Rich,” “Added Calcium” or “Good Source of Calcium.” Almonds, sardines, canned salmon (leave in the bones!), tofu and green vegetables also contribute some calcium.
  • Get the Nutrition Facts. Use the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods to track the amount of calcium you consume and compare it to the amount you should get for the day.
  • Don’t forget D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified dairy products, fish and eggs. Your body also produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
  • Move those bones! Weight-bearing types of physical activity help strengthen bones and slow bone loss. Try walking, jogging, dancing, playing tennis or basketball, jumping rope, aerobic dancing and weight lifting. Aim for at least 30 minutes (60 minutes for kids) of physical activity daily. Learn more about physical activity.

Delicious Recipes with Calcium

Make these tasty calcium-rich recipes at home to get excited about incorporating more calcium into your diet.

For more nutritional information, be sure to check out the My Food and Family website. If you would like to get your calcium through milk, for example, but are sensitive, read lactose-sensitive tips here. For more tips on helping your kids build strong bones, be sure to also read our tips on practicing an active lifestyle.

 

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