Lesson 4 -Eat for the Long Run

Calcium for your bones

Calcium is an important mineral that most Americans, especially older adults, do not get enough of. Calcium, along with weight bearing exercise, helps keep your bones strong. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends for women, 1,000 mg. daily for 50 & younger; 1200 mg. daily for 51 & older. For men, it’s 1,000 mg. daily for 70 & younger, and 1200 mg for 70 & older. Women are particularly at risk for fractures, since they have a lower bone density than men.

Try to get your calcium from food. If you have trouble getting enough calcium, which is primarily found in dairy products (choose nonfat or low fat), almonds, some greens such as kale and broccoli, and calcium fortified foods, consult with your physicians about taking a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, another vitamin that many older adults need more of, will help you absorb calcium and, new evidence shows, will help you reduce your risk for certain diseases.

Being in the sunlight for 15 minutes a day, three times a week, allows your body to produce it's own active vitamin D. Remember, however, that sunscreen which we all need to be using to reduce our risk for skin cancer, will block the ultraviolet rays needed to produce vitamin D. Fatty fish, and vitamin D fortified milk and cereals are some of the few foods that contain Vitamin D.

The most reliable way to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D is to take a supplement that contains the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s recommendations for under age 50, 400 – 800 IU daily and 800 IU to 1,000 daily for 50 yrs. and older.

Some people need more vitamin D. Check with your MD. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the safe upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IU per day for most adults.

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