Tag Archives: calcium

Foods That Heal Bones

Guest Post By Leslie Vandever


Good bone health is vital. Our bones protect our vital organs—the heart, lungs, liver, and brain. They provide the framework for the entire body, allowing us to move and live independently. But, say you’ve broken a bone. It might be your wrist, which cracked when you slipped on an icy patch and fell. Or maybe you broke your leg skiing, or your arm, or hip, or fingers or toes. Unfortunately, accidents do happen.

Bone is living tissue. When it breaks, cells from the blood flow into the injured area and start the process of turning into new bone. Healing time varies, depending on the severity of the injury, your general health, your sleep habits, hydration, and how much daily exercise you get.

Your diet can make an appreciable difference in your healing time, as well. Your body must have a steady supply of certain nutrients to build new bone, remodel injured bone, and maintain bone that already exists. You can choose to eat in a way that helps that process along.

Bone health foods

Good bone health requires, first of all, a well-rounded, nutritious diet. A healthy one includes foods that are high in protein, like lean meat, chicken or fish (or beans and legumes, if you prefer), nuts and eggs, and an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits of all kinds every day. Limit foods that are high in carbohydrates, like those made from refined white flour. Focus instead on whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals. Stick to healthy, plant-based, unsaturated fats for cooking and eating, like olive or canola oil, and avoid sugary foods and beverages except as rare special treats.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals needed for bone health and healing. Other parts of the body need calcium, as well, and the bones act as calcium storehouses. Foods that are rich in calcium include:  Milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, broccoli, kale, collard greens, mustard greens and other green leafy vegetables, liver, beans & legumes, shrimp, canned salmon with bones, other saltwater fish, and calcium-fortified soy products.

When it comes to bones, however, you also need to get an adequate daily amount of vitamin D. Your gut can’t absorb the calcium you eat without this essential nutrient. One of the best ways to get enough vitamin D is to spend some time each day outside, in the sunshine. When the ultraviolet rays of the sun hit your skin, your body produces vitamin D endogenously, making it the only vitamin that we don’t necessarily have to get from the foods we eat. But be mindful about staying out in the sun for too long. Sunburn can cause skin cancer. Try not to spend more than 10 minutes at a time out in the sun, unprotected.

Although there are only a few foods that supply vitamin D in the diet, they do exist. They include:  Cod liver oil, salmon, swordfish, tuna fish, sardines, liver, egg yolk, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, vitamin D-fortified milk (whole, skim, or non-fat), swiss cheese, fortified yogurt, and fortified cereals. You can also get vitamin D from supplements, either prescribed by your doctor or over-the-counter at the drugstore. Recommended dosage is between 400 mgs and 1,000 mgs daily. Take care, though: more than 2,000 mgs of vitamin D per day can be toxic.

Calcium and vitamin D are both essential for bone health throughout your life. Make sure you’re getting enough of both each and every day.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in Northern California.

Vitamin D. (2014, Nov. 10) National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on December 19, 2014 from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Bone Health for Life: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family. (2014, July) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved on December 19, 2014 from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/bone_health_for_life.asp
Making Wise Choices in Each Food Group. (2014) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved on December 19, 2014 from http://www.veteranshealthlibrary.org/Search/142,41395_VA
Bone Health: Tips to Keep Your Bones Healthy. (2013, Feb. 9) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on December 19, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/bone-health/art-20045060

The Balancing Act: How Seniors Can Prevent Injury

Guest post by Virginia Cunningham

Nobody wants to take a fall in winter, when there are much more important things to do than slow-motioning around the house and asking people to help you with the most trivial tasks. Still, we know that one out of three older adults falls each year and, to make matters worse, most fractures among people over 65 are caused by falls.

Still, while they do happen a lot, bone breaking and other falling-related injuries can be prevented– at least to a certain extent. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re walking, not falling:

Dog Pose for Good Bones

Exercise might be a bit more challenging as we grow older, but it never stops being fun or good for us. There are so many ways to go: dancing, fitness, cardio, power training, swimming. What matters is that you get your doctor’s clearance first and that you’re doing something you actually enjoy.

Yoga pose

Yoga is our number-one suggestion because it is proven to improve balance and coordination, which are vital aspects of… not falling down and hurting yourself. The best way to get results is following a rigorous program which challenges you twice per week for at least eight weeks. This way, you’ll gradually lose the fear of falling, which is one of the biggest problems around the issue anyway. Just the fear itself can ruin your mood when you’re trying to get across a rather icy sidewalk, so getting that out of the way can do wonders for morale.

Get Your Eyes Checked

That’s right — your eyes might be getting between you and your intact, un-fractured bones. Many older adults simply get used to a blurred vision and forget to change their glasses when they’re supposed to. If you know that you haven’t checked your eyes in a long time, go ahead and make an appointment or just walk into the nearest eye clinic.

A good eyesight is not only good for telling the oregano jar from the parsley jar, it also helps with getting around and making sure you’re aware of your environment. It’s really a shame that people actually end up falling because they just can’t see clearly. This is preventable and it only takes updating your glasses once every six to 12 months.

Put Your Pills on the Spot

If you’re taking a lot of pills each day or even a few, but for quite some time, you might want to get them checked by your physician.


Often, medicine contains ingredients that can either cause drowsiness or dizziness, or even lower your bone density. Even over-the-counter tablets can have such unpleasant side-effects and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can minimize the risk of falling.
If you think you’re endangering yourself, try to find out if there are alternatives you could pursue. In many cases, there are.

Make Your Home Clutter-Free

Slippery rugs, rocklike statues, shoes lying around the house– all of these are your enemies and should be eliminated from sight. It just takes one walk in the dark to slip, trip and fall, so don’t take that chance.

Reorganizing your house might actually be fun. Put everything you use on a regular basis in its own place: keep the shoes away, keep your books and papers in boxes and on shelves, move metal objects away and get some non-slip mats for your bathroom. Installing grab bars next to the shower is also a good idea, as people slip in the bathtub all the time, no matter if they’re 15 or 80. Getting those sharp corners on your furniture covered is also smart if you want to avoid that dreaded pinkie destruction we all hate.

In the end, falling is unpleasant at any age. And if you can prevent it, why wouldn’t you? Minimize your risk by keeping your house clean and safe, getting some balance and flexibility training, making sure your vision is as good as it gets and checking your pills for side effects. Don’t forget to get enough Calcium (1000 mg/day for men and 1200 mg/day for women) as well as Vitamin D (600-800 mg/day) and you’ll be fine.

Today’s guest blogger is Virginia Cunningham, who is honored to have had the opportunity to share her knowledge about how seniors can easily prevent themselves from attaining injury. Her writing, in collaboration with NorthWest, covers all things health, including natural supplements, personal fitness and holistic medicine.