Among Australians over the age of 60, osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in three men. Boost your bone strength with these high-calcium building blocks.
Can’t tolerate milk? Try fortified alternatives: 250ml of calcium-fortified soy milk contains 40 per cent of your daily requirement for this mineral. Some non-dairy foods, such as almonds, also offer calcium, but in smaller amounts.
Dairy foods are most people’s main source of calcium. Our bodies more easily absorb this mineral from dairy, which is a more concentrated calcium source than any other food group. To meet your daily target for calcium, eat three to four serves of dairy a day. (One serve is equivalent to a 200g tub of yoghurt, two slices of cheese or a 250ml glass of milk.)
The body stores 99 per cent of its calcium in the bones and teeth, so it’s no surprise that fish canned with its edible bones is a rich source of the mineral. Top toast with sardines canned in spring water, or add canned salmon to salads and sandwiches.
Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is essential to calcium absorption. If you don’t get enough rays, you’ll need to reach for the best food sources: oily fish, cod-liver oil and egg yolks.
Still not getting enough? Look for foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals, breads, table spreads and fruit juice. Alternatively, you might need to take a calcium supplement with added vitamin D to aid absorption.
Did you know? The word osteoporosis means ‘holes in the bones’.