Osteoporosis is a bone disease that has affected at least a handful of the elders in my family, including my mom. As a dietitian, it can sometimes seem easy to spout off the dietary do’s and don’ts of osteoporosis prevention and management: get enough calcium and vitamin D by choosing calcium and vitamin D rich foods first, and take supplements if necessary. For many people, getting enough calcium means drinking milk and eating yogurt and cheese. But what if dairy products have never been part of your diet?
My mom has her own creative way of managing her osteoporosis without dairy. She likes the following options:
Fortified soy beverage (1 cup = 320 mg): Pour it over cereal, put in a smoothie, or drink it straight from the glass (hot or cold).
Tofu with calcium sulfate (150 g raw = 230 mg calcium): The amount of calcium in tofu varies a lot. Read the Nutrition Facts tables on product labels and choose the one with the most calcium. Try tofu in stir fries, soups, curries and stews, or check out this recipe for Steamed Egg White with Tofu .
Kale (1 cup boiled = 100 mg calcium): Steam for a few minutes, drain and add a pinch of salt, ground pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste. Or make kale chips.
Blackstrap molasses (1 Tablespoon = 180 mg calcium): Molasses makes a great sweetener in homemade granola. Mix together 8 cups rolled oats, 2 cups of nuts and seeds, 1/2 cup of molasses. Bake at 375°F for 30-45 min, stirring in between. Add dried fruit before eating.
If you wonder if you’re meeting your calcium goal, the BC Dairy Association has an online tool to help you calculate how much calcium you’re getting compared to how much you need. If you find that you aren’t getting enough calcium, you can discuss supplements with your health care provider or talk to a dietitian at HealthLink BC by dialing 8-1-1.
Watching my mom manage her osteoporosis has reminded me that eating for bone health is important throughout my life. I’d rather prevent osteoporosis than manage it.
Today's guest blogger is Louisa Lee, a dietitian at HealthLink BC. Louisa enjoys sharing healthy eating tools with people to help them with lifestyle change.
Osteoporosis: Taking Calcium and Vitamin D