Nutrition That Will Keep You on Your Toes

These diet tips are designed to help keep your feet healthy and happy.

Staying in step with an active lifestyle means taking care of our feet. Good nutrition is a preventative measure we can all take to keep our bones healthy. Osteoporosis, a bone loss disease that literally means “porous bone,” can develop unnoticed over many years. Stress fractures in our feet can be one of the first signs of the disease, but by the time we experience a fracture, the damage to our bones has been done.

When we include healthy amounts of calcium and vitamin D in our diet, we prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis, and keep our feet healthy throughout our lifetime.

We need calcium throughout our lifetime to maintain bone quality, but the amounts we need vary depending upon age and other factors. Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium. This guide from the National Academy of Sciences offers recommendations based on individual age and circumstances:

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium. Eight ounces of milk contain about 300 mg of calcium. Other calcium-rich foods include sardines (with bones) and leafy green vegetables like broccoli and kale. Recommendations for calcium intake requirements:

  • Young people between the ages of 9 and 18 years: 1,300 mg a day
  • Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 years: 1,000 mg a day
  • Pregnant or nursing women up to age 18: 1,300 mg a day
  • Pregnant or nursing women between the ages of 19 and 50 years: 1,000 mg a day
  • Adults over the age of 50: 1,200 mg a day

We need between 400 and 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Most of us meet at least some of our vitamin D requirements through sun exposure. Although exposure requirements are affected by factors like climate, weather conditions, and use of sunscreen, researchers estimate that approximately 10 to 60 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM per week usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Although few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in fatty fish like salmon, and in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and some mushrooms. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D found in our diet. Check the labels of your milk, breakfast cereal, and orange juice—many are fortified with vitamin D.

Supplements can also boost calcium and vitamin D, but check with your doctor first. Too much vitamin D can be toxic, and not all calcium supplements are equally effective.

Attention to your diet now can keep you on healthy feet for years to come, and will benefit your general bone health as well.

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