We know our bones need calcium, but that’s not all they need. To build bone strength (aka bone mineral density), we need:
1. Vitamin D
While we can get some vitamin D from foods, we mostly get it through our skin via sunlight. A little dose of sunlight a day helps our bodies to absorb and use calcium.
2. Weight-bearing activity
To strengthen bones and reduce bone loss, We need to do regular physical activity that is weight-bearing. This means any activity that is done while on your feet so your bear your own weight – think pilates, stair climbing, dancing, aerobics, tennis, and even walking. Progressively increase the degree of difficulty of your exercise and vary your routine to get the most out of it.
3. Daily sources of calcium
Calcium is used for many things in our body, and if we don’t eat foods that contain calcium every day, our body will take it from our bones for essential body functions (like keeping our heart beating!). Most of us need around 2-3 serves of dairy or dairy alternatives every day. Calcium sources include milk, yoghurt, cheese, sardines and other fish with edible bones, tofu, beans and legumes, silverbeet and kale. Learn more about dietary sources of calcium >
If you eat non-dairy alternatives like nut or soy milk and tofu, make sure you read the nutrition information panel. Does it list how much calcium per 100g? If it’s not listed at all, it is not fortified with calcium. Shop around and find a product that is calcium-enriched.