November is Osteoporosis Month
More than 1.4 million Canadians have osteoporosis and it affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men. You reach peak bone mass around 16-20 years of age for girls and 20-25 years of age for boys. You maintain this peak until age 35 and then bone density starts to decline.
What can I do to reduce my risk of osteoporosis?
Ensuring you build strong bone when you are young and then slowing the loss when you are older is the goal. How? Through diet and exercise, including getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D, limiting alcohol and salt and doing weight bearing exercise.
Calcium and Vitamin D recommendations from the Institute of Health (DRI) and Osteoporosis Canada.
Age DRI calcium (mg) OC Calcium (mg) DRI Vit D(IU) OC Vitamin D (IU)
0-1 yr 200-260 400
1-3 700 600
4-8 1000 800 600
9-18 1300 1300 600
19-50 1000 1000 600 400-1000
51-70 men 1000 1200 600 800-2000
70+ 1200 1200 800 800-2000
<18 1300 1000 600 400-1000
We need calcium every day. Just about every cell in our body requires calcium to function. Without calcium we would die. Our bones act as a calcium bank. If we don’t eat enough calcium we steal it from our bones, making our bones porous.
Food sources of calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soymilk such as So Good and So Nice, rice milk Almond milk such as Almond Fresh and orange juice such as Minute Maid, almonds, canned salmon with the bones, dark green leafy vegetables, molasses, sesame seeds
Research: Some research shows that women who get most of their calcium from foods have healthier bones than those who rely on supplements only.
Vitamin D Sources:
Good sources of vitamin D include sunshine (from April to October), fortified milk, soymilk and orange juice, yogurt made with vitamin D fortified milk, Almond milk such as Almond Fresh Unsweetened, fatty fish such as salmon, margarine, egg yolk, mushrooms and vitamin Supplements. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1000 IU all year round.
Research: Getting enough vitamin D may reduce your risk not only of osteoporosis, but also of developing cancer (colon, breast, prostate and lung) as well as diabetes, MS and Alzheimer’s.
Delicious ways to get more calcium and vitamin D in your diet
1. Use Almond Fresh unsweetened almond milk or skim milk instead of water to make oatmeal
2. Add skim milk powder to muffin and cookie recipes
3. Sprinkle reduced fat feta or goat cheese on a salad
4. Use canned salmon with the bones in a whole wheat wrap filled with broccoli slaw and tatziki
5. Make hummus with sesame tahini for a dip for raw broccoli
6. Use milk instead of water when making soups and casseroles.
7. Add cheese to sandwiches, on vegetable pizzas and with fruit for a snack.
8. Use plain yogurt for salad dressings and vegetable dips instead of sour cream or mayonnaise.
9. Try chocolate milk and flavoured soy beverages such as So Good and So Nice
10. Use firm tofu made with calcium sulfate in stir fries
11. Drink calcium fortified orange juice.
12. Add a teaspoon of vinegar when making chicken stock to draw out the calcium from the bones.
How to benefit best from your supplements:
1. Find a calcium supplement containing vitamin D.
2. Calcium carbonate should be taken with food; calcium citrate can be taken between meals.
3. Take calcium in small doses throughout the day. (max 300 -500mg at a time)
4. Avoid supplements containing calcium from limestone or dolomite.
Aim to get the calcium you need through diet as best you can and then make up the rest in a supplement. Go to www.Osteoporosis.ca and check out the calcium calculator to help you determine what you are getting in your day.