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Get Enough Calcium to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Calcium is a mineral in the body that makes up bones, keeps them strong, and is essential for a healthy life. Most of the calcium in your body is stored in your teeth and bones, while the rest is found in your blood and soft tissues.

If you don't get enough calcium from your diet, your body automatically takes the calcium it needs from your bones. If this continues over a period of years, bones become weak, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures.

Nutrition specialists at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center recommend the following ways to ensure that you are receiving 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium daily:

  • Eat two to three daily servings of dairy products (preferably low-fat milk, cheese or yogurt), which contain the most available form of calcium in the food supply.

  • Eat green, leafy vegetables, which can also contribute to your calcium requirement. Other sources of calcium include tofu and salmon and sardines, both with bones.

  • Choose calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals and bread.

  • Take a calcium supplement if you are not eating two to three servings of dairy products daily. Calcium citrate is a preferred form of calcium because it is usually better absorbed by the body, but other forms of calcium can be used as well.

  • If you need to take a calcium supplement, take it in divided doses for better absorption. Make sure your calcium supplement contains vitamin D, which works with calcium to maintain strong bones or that you take a vitamin D supplement.

Above content provided by Hebrew SeniorLife in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted July 2012

Contact Information

Division of Gerontology
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building #1B (West Campus)
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215

Contact Information

Hebrew Senior Life
1200 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131