Eating for Healthy Bones
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A healthy balanced diet helps to build and maintain healthy bones

The food that you eat affect the health of your bones. Getting the right combination of foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients in your diet is important for both your bones and overall health.1,2 A healthy diet can slow the rate of bone thinning as we age and reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.3 It is important to make healthy food choices and this quick reference guide can help you!

Each day aim to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of dairy, fish and lean meats, fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to build and maintain strong healthy bones. The most important nutrients for people of all ages are calcium, protein and vitamin D. Download the Be Bone Healthy eating guide for more tips and a list of 20 bone healthy ingredients!

Recommended daily intake of key nutrients for adults1,2,4

Ensure that your diet has enough calcium, vitamin D and protein.  These nutrients help to support bones and muscles and thereby help to lower the risk of falls and fractures. And talk to your doctor about a bone healthy diet today!

  1. Calcium
    Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones as well as healthy nerve and muscle function. Most people get about 250 mg of calcium each day from fruits, vegetables and other foods.  So add some 3–5 servings of calcium rich to your diet each day to make sure you have all the calcium your bones need.
  2. Vitamin D
    This essential vitamin helps your body to absorb calcium and ensures correct renewal and mineralisation of bone. It also helps to improve muscle strength and balance to reduce your risk of falls. You can get some vitamin D by spending a little time in the sun each day, and add to this with foods that contain vitamin D such as fortified milk, egg yolk, liver and fish (e.g. salmon, sardines and tuna).
  3. Protein
    We all need protein to provide our bodies with essential amino acids to build bone.  It is important to get enough protein at every age to support and maintain healthy bones. Get dietary protein with lean meats and fish, fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt-
 
AGE GENDER CALCIUMa VITAMIN Db PROTEINc
19–50 years Female
Male
1000 mg
1000 mg
600 IU
600 IU
46 g
56 g
51–70 years Female
Male
1200 mg
1000 mg
600 IU
600 IU
46 g
56 g
> 70 years Female
Male
1200 mg
1200 mg
800 IU
800 IU
46 g
56 g
a Calcium supplementation should be considered for those who cannot get enough calcium from their diet and who are at high risk for osteoporosis. b For older adults over 60 years a vitamin D supplement (800–100 IU/day) can support greater muscle strength and improved bone health. c The recommended daily intake of protein for healthy adults is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight.

The foods you eat can impact your bones1,4

These bone-healthy super foods provide your body with essential nutrients to support healthy bones and muscles.
Add some to your diet today!

FOOD NUTRIENTS
Dairy foods Milk, yoghurt and cheeses are very high in calcium which can easily be absorbed.  They are also great sources of phosphate and high-quality protein which benefit bone health.
Fish Canned sardines and salmon (with soft edible bones) are a great source of calcium. And fatty fish varieties such as salmon, mackeral, tuna and sardines also contain vitamin D!
Vegetables Green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, curly kale & bok choy) are a great source of calcium and also contain essential micronutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium and carotenoids which support healthy bone growth and development.
Fortified foods Juice, breakfast cereals, soy milk, rice milk, snacks and breads are available with added calcium and vitamin D to help you gain the right nutrients in your diet

When do I need to take supplements?

If you are not getting the recommended amount from food alone or are taking an osteoporosis medicine, you may need to complement your diet by taking multivitamins or supplements such as calcium and vitamin D.  Your doctor will recommend the right supplements for you.

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References

1 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Facts and statistics. osteoporosis.foundation/facts-statistics.

2 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Cancer Today. 2018. gco.iarc.fr.

3 International Osteoporosis Foundation. The Asia-Pacific regional audit. Epidemiology, costs & burden of osteoporosis in 2013. osteoporosis.foundation/educational-hub/material/audits.

4 International Osteoporosis Foundation. That’s osteoporosis. A compact guide to osteoporosis and its prevention and treatment. 2019. osteoporosis.foundation/educational-hub/material/brochures.

5 Cooper C. Am J Med 1997;103:12S-17S; discussion 17S–19S.