As we get older, bones weaken. To delay this process and keep them strong and healthy for longer, it is recommended to take calcium and vitamin D. Find out why this combination is key and what are the main sources that can provide these nutrients.

It is often advised to add calcium to the diet to keep bones strong and healthy. For example, maybe you know about dairy products , although they are not the only ones that provide calcium . Not so well known, but not least, is vitamin D , which is also acquired through some foods (there are not as many as those that provide calcium), although the main source of vitamin D is the sun. Humans produce vitamin D3 from the exposure of our skin to ultraviolet rays.

Let’s stop for a moment. What I’m saying is that if you keep your bones strong, calcium is as important as vitamin D. You know why? Because this combination must go hand in hand so that the bones get the most out of it: calcium helps to prevent the bones from losing their density, and thus prevents them from weakening and becoming fragile and brittle, and the development of the osteoporosis ; while vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium, which also helps to prevent osteoporosis from developing.

If you do not have enough vitamin D, your body can not make enough of a hormone called calcitrol (or “active vitamin D”), and you can not absorb enough calcium from food. When this happens, the body needs to use the calcium reserves that it has deposited in the skeleton, which weakens the existing bone and prevents the formation and strengthening of new and strong bone. Because the bones are constantly renewing.

For all this it is important that you consume the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, neither more nor less since, for example, the excess of vitamin D is also associated with other health problems.

And while there are still discrepancies on the optimal amount, which changes according to the age and the particular conditions of each person. In general, it is recommended that adults under 50 get daily 1,000 mg (milligrams) of calcium and 400 to 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D. Then, women from 50 and men when they arrive at 70, they should get 1,200 mg of calcium per day. In both cases, the necessary vitamin D is 800 to 1,000 IU daily.

How can you get them? Calcium, in a balanced diet (usually 3 to 4 servings). Take note of these foods that are rich in calcium:

  • Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage (or cabbage, common cabbage), green mustard, Swiss chard, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and spinach.
  • Salmon and sardines that come canned with their bones (eat those soft bones).
  • Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame paste and dried vegetables
  • Oats and other enriched cereals.
  • Soy products (soy), such as grains, tofu and milk.
  • Cooked beans.

For its part, vitamin D can be obtained from food or through the skin, since it occurs naturally in the body when you are exposed to sunlight. Therefore, sunbathing for 10 to 15 minutes a day, at prudent times, helps produce the necessary levels of vitamin D (but be careful with this, much more exposure time without protection can be dangerous, remember that excessive exposure to sun rays can cause skin cancer ).

Regarding food, take note of the following, which are rich in vitamin D:

  • Yolk.
  • Fatty or saltwater fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
  • Liver.
  • Cod liver oil.
  • Fortified milk and dairy products (such as yogurt and cheeses).
  • Cereals and fruit juices enriched with this vitamin.

Finally, it is true that both calcium and vitamin D can be obtained through vitamin supplements . However, the advice is that you always consult your doctor before buying and taking them, as you may not need them and the excess can also be bad. In addition, they may have unwanted interactions with other medications you are taking or simply not be appropriate for your health status.

The best thing for your bones is to have a balanced diet, which includes a variety of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, accompanied by exercises according to your physical condition, since it has been proven that physical activity helps strengthen your bones and avoid the painful fractures that happen as a result of osteoporosis. Cheer up! It can be easier and fun than you think.

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