To help prevent osteoporosis, get proper nutrition and regular
physical activity, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
• Eat calcium-rich foods
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are the richest
sources of calcium. Fat-free and low-fat products, calciumfortified
orange juice and cereals, fish with edible bones, and
certain vegetables (such as rhubarb, soybeans and spinach) are
good sources. Healthy adults ages 19 to 50 need at least 1,000
milligrams (mg) of calcium a day from all sources. Older
adults need 1,200 mg a day.
• Consider a calcium supplement
Calcium carbonate is the least expensive and most commonly
used calcium supplement, and it’s better absorbed when taken
with meals. Calcium citrate is more easily absorbed but
requires more pills to reach the recommended amount.
Calcium phosphate is the least likely to cause constipation.
• Get enough vitamin D
If you’re not taking a multivitamin, consider a calcium
supplement that also has vitamin D, and milk that’s fortified
with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for enhancing the
amount of calcium that ultimately reaches your bones. In addition,
the body can produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
Ten to 15 minutes of exposure two to three times a week helps.
• Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity and exercise help slow bone loss
and improve balance, coordination and muscle strength.
• Avoid smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol
Smoking increases the rate of bone loss. Regularly drinking
more than moderate levels of alcohol can hasten bone loss
and reduce ability to absorb calcium.