Ensure Healthy Bones with Vitamin D and Calcium

By: Michelle Miller, Clinical Nutritionist & Rachel Naar, Registered Dietitian

Healthy bones are important to our bodies because our bones support us and allow us to move. They protect our brain, heart, and other organs from injury. The body needs vitamin D, calcium, and a wide variety of other important vitamins and nutrients (including regular strength training!) to make and keep its bones strong.

Lack of calcium during childhood and adulthood can lead to bones becoming brittle and easily breakable, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Luckily, there are some easy nutrition guidelines you can follow to maintain healthy bones.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • Leafy greens
    • Collard
    • Kale
  • Sardines or canned tuna fish
  • Calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Tofu made with calcium sulfate

How Much Calcium Is in Your Food?

Read the Nutrition Facts Label to learn how much calcium you are getting. Calcium has a Daily Value (DV) of 1,000 milligrams a day. If a label reads:

  • 30% DV of calcium = 300 milligrams
  • 20% DV of calcium = 200 milligrams
  • 10% DV of calcium = 100 milligrams

Ensuring adequate Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a key nutrient that helps bones absorb calcium, so it’s important to meet daily vitamin D needs. There are three ways to get vitamin D: sunlight, food, and supplements.

Good sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish
    • Mackerel, salmon, tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified foods

Bone health is dependent on lifestyle choices. Here are some key things  you can do to keep bones healthy and strong for life:

  1. Get enough calcium and vitamin D every day from food and/or supplements.
  2. Participate in regular weight-bearing exercise at least two days a week.
  3. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day.
  4. Talk with your health care provider about bone health!

Maintaining healthy bones is just one way proper nutrition helps us to be our optimal selves. If you’d like to discuss any other concerns, reach out to our Clinical Nutrition Department by filling out the form below or Call Us Now.

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