Osteoporosis Prevention

Dietary Strategies to Prevent Osteoporosis

Adding calcium to your diet may be the easiest health-related change you can make. It's an important one, too. Calcium may reduce fractures caused by osteoporosis by as much as 50 percent. The Institute of Medicine recommends these calcium guidelines based on age:

  • 1,300 mg/calcium/daily (the equivalent of three, eight-ounce glasses of milk plus trace sources found elsewhere in the diet will be enough) for girls age nine to 18
  • 1,000 mg/calcium/daily for the average woman age 19 to 50
  • 1,200 mg/calcium/daily for the woman age 51 or older
  • If you have asthma, allergies, a thyroid condition or other chronic medical conditions you may need even higher daily calcium intake

National nutrition surveys have shown that many people consume less than half the amount of calcium recommended to build and maintain healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include:

  • low fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream
  • dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, bok choy and spinach
  • sardines and salmon with bones
  • fortified tofu (a soybean product made from curdled soy milk)
  • almonds
  • foods fortified with calcium, such as orange juice, cereals and breads