Learning for Life: Building your bone bank

Calcium may be the most abundant mineral in the body but many individuals, especially seniors, do not have adequate levels to support healthy bone structure. Research has found that bone resorption and formation is balanced for about the first three decades. After that, our bones break down faster than they rebuild, which can result in a loss of bone density and put us at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

To keep our bones strong, we need to ensure we are taking in enough calcium to replace that which is lost. Think of making more deposits in your bone bank than withdrawals. This is easily accomplished by consuming 3 servings of dairy or other calcium rich foods each day. Low fat or fat free milk, yogurt, and cheese are all tasty ways to ensure adequate levels of calcium. (Cream, cream cheese and butter don’t count as they have little to no calcium and lots of fat; so sad!)

Not a dairy fan? No problem. Beans, dark leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, calcium-fortified juices, cereals, breads, non-dairy milk beverages and tofu, as well as canned salmon with bones are all good alternatives and will help you build a handsome balance in your bone bank.

Stop by the extension office at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A in Soldotna for a handout or visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.

Submitted by Amorette Payment, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Nutrition Educator, Kenai Peninsula District.

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