According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended calcium intake for men over the age of 70 and women over the age of 51 is 1200-2000 mg per day. Strong bones help prevent fractures during falls, protect our organs, anchor our muscles, and store calcium. But the older we get, the harder it is to maintain bone density. We know that calcium is one of the best ways we can “feed” our bones, but we don’t often get (and store) enough of it in our bodies as we age. Here are just a few ways you can incorporate more absorbable calcium into your diet, beyond traditional dairy items such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Dark, leafy greens – Specifically collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, kale, and broccoli provide around 100 mg of calcium per serving.
Use milk instead of water – Making oatmeal? Replace the water with milk to get a calcium boost!
Get your vitamin D – Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium; people ages 51-70 should consume at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Those over the age of 70 should aim for 800 IUs per day. You can get this through fish, eggs, fortified milk, or cod liver oil. The sun is also a wonderful source of vitamin D.
Bone broth – This can be made from chicken, beef, lamb, bison, or even fish bones and can also be found pre-packaged in your grocery store.
Fish with soft, edible bones – Try canned salmon; just 3 oz contains 181 mg of calcium.
AVOID soft drinks – Soft drinks raise phosphate levels, which can leach calcium from your bones and prevent the absorption of new calcium.