Bone Health and Your Diet

Having good bone health can help prevent against falls and serious injuries. What you eat and drink can have an impact on your bone strength. Here are some diet tips to help ensure your bone health:

Get the Right Amount of Protein

Seniors should get about 80 grams of protein every day. Although most seniors do not get enough protein in their diets, it is still important to avoid having too much protein. Excessive proteins can cause a loss of calcium. Trying to stay around the recommended amount of protein is key for better bone health. Examples of foods high in protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Lean Beef
  • Beans, lentils, and peas
  • Nuts & Seeds

Get Enough Calcium

Women over the age of 50 should get 1,200 mg of calcium every day. Men between the ages of 51-70 should get 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Men over 70 should get 1,200 mg of calcium every day. You can consume these recommended amounts by eating and drinking foods high in calcium. These foods include:

  • Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Orange juice, cereals, and other food fortified with calcium
  • Sardines, salmon with bones, soybeans, tofu, and nuts
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy

Get enough Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for maintaining bone mass. By maintaining bone mass, it also helps to prevent the likelihood of falls and fractures. The recommended daily amounts of vitamin C for men and women over the age of 50 are 90 mg and 75 mg respectively. Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Peppers
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus Fruits

Get Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D allows your body to absorb the calcium. Therefore, you need vitamin D to use calcium. People ages 51 to 70 should get at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day. People over the age of 70 should get at least 800 IUs every day. The need for vitamin D increases as you age. Sunlight exposure will help your body to create its own vitamin D. However, many people don’t get enough vitamin D by sunlight alone. Some foods high in vitamin D can help maintain recommended daily amounts. These foods include:

  • Fish like: herring, sardines, salmon, and tuna
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Fortified milk and foods

Limit Alcohol and Quit Smoking

Drinking alcohol and smoking can reduce bone mass. Decreased bone mass will increase the risk of falls and fractures. You are never too old or too young to improve your bone health. Stopping bad habits and starting healthy diets can help keep bones strong.

Sources: National Institutes of Health: Senior HealthBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)