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    12 Foods to Boost Bone Health

    Getting the calcium and vitamin D you need is easier than you think -- if you eat the right foods.

    Breakfasts for Strong Bones continued...

    Some cereals, for instance, can give you half of the calcium you need all day. Have a cup of fortified cereal with milk and a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice, and you may satisfy your calcium needs before lunch.

    Breakfast Foods

    Average Calcium (mg)

    Cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup

    100 - 1000

    Soy milk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces

    80 - 500

    Milk (nonfat, 2%, whole, or lactose-reduced), 1 cup


    Yogurt, 1 cup

    300 - 400

    Orange juice, calcium-fortified

    200 - 340

    Even if you're lactose-intolerant and don't digest milk well, you can find plenty of dairy products these days that are lactose-reduced or lactose-free. Just check the labels on milk, cheese, and yogurt, and try the health-food store if larger supermarkets don't carry enough choices.

    Suppers for Strong Bones

    If cereal's not your thing -- or you'd rather spread your calcium across the day for better absorption -- try adding a few calcium-rich foods to your dinner or lunch. Make an omelet with a bit of cheddar cheese, sautéed greens, and salmon. Or whip up a scrambled-egg stir-fry by adding Swiss cheese, broccoli, and sardines to your eggs, and you've got a lunch for strong bones. If you like soups and stews, try adding salmon, kale, or turnip greens to your other favorite recipes.

    Just as your bones store calcium, fish bones do, too. Those tiny bones in canned fish like sardines and salmon hold high levels of calcium, so be sure to eat those, too.

    Lunch, Dinner, and Snack Foods

    Average Calcium (mg)

    Canned sardines, 3 ounces


    Swiss cheese, 1 ounce


    Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce


    Canned salmon, 3 ounces


    Turnip greens, 1 cup


    Kale cooked, 1 cup


    Broccoli, raw, 1 cup


    How to Find Calcium-Rich Foods

    Try this trick to help you decipher the food labels and "Nutrition Facts" you now see on packaged foods.

    The calcium amounts you'll see listed are percentages, based on the standard of 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. So to figure out how much calcium you're actually getting in each serving, it's easy. Just add a zero to the percentage of calcium you see on the label to convert it to actual milligrams (mg). So, for example, if a cereal box says "Calcium: 50%," then that cereal has 500 milligrams of calcium in each serving.

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