Practical resources to help family caregivers in the midst of caring for someone

Maintaining bone health -family caregiver tips

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones caused by an imbalance between bone building and bone destruction.

According to Statistics Canada 54 per cent of family caregivers tend to be women. Women are also more likely than men to spend 20 or more hours per week on caregiving tasks than their male counterparts.

If you are a female family caregiver, it’s important to be aware of the nutrients and vitamins you need for maintaining bone health, especially as you provide assistance with physical caregiving tasks.

Nutritional facts for women

The factors that affect our bone health that we can control are what we eat and the activities we do.

If calcium available from dietary sources is low, and when calcium in the blood drops too low, the body will take calcium from the bones.

Your dietary intake of calcium is important, but so are other micronutrients that are essential for the body to absorb and use calcium. Important micronutrients are:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin K

Health Canada’s recommendations for calcium:

  • 1,200 mg for women over 50 years old and men over 71 years old
  • 1,000 mg for adults 19-50 years old, men age 51 to 70

Sources of calcium in food:

  • Dairy products are very good sources of easily absorbed calcium
  • Calcium fortified soy beverages and orange juice are also good
  • Current evidence suggests that calcium should be obtained from food sources whenever possible
  • Salmon, kale, and coconut beverages are non-dairy sources of calcium

What do the nutritional facts tables on our food really mean?

Let’s start with the serving size on the label.

It is important to compare the serving size on the label to how much you actually eat. Is what you eat more or less than the serving size on the label? The nutrients listed on the label are the amount in the listed serving size, so you need to decide if you are eating that amount.

Next, what is important to you on the label? Listed on the label are calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. Let’s look at the calcium content listed in the Nutritional Facts Tables of the food in your fridge or pantry.

The % daily value can give you an indication of whether the product is high or low in calcium. For vitamins like Vitamin D or calcium, we want to choose foods that have the biggest % daily value number to contribute the most nutrition to your diet.  If the % daily value is 10% you would need to eat 10 times the portion listed or choose other calcium rich choices to meet 100%.

For maintaining bone health, these are common foods that contain calcium:

  • 1 cup of milk = about 300 mg of calcium
  • 1 cup of a fortified soy beverage = 321 mg of calcium
  • ½ cup of kale = 95 mg of calcium
  • 1 ½ cups of kale = 285 mg of calcium
  • 1 cup of fortified orange juice = 300 mg of calcium
  • 1 cup of almond beverage = 312 mg of calcium
  • 1 cup of coconut beverage = 200 mg of calcium
  • 2.5 oz of salmon = 200 mg of calcium
  • ¼ cup of dry roasted almonds = 95 mg of calcium
  • 1 ½ cups of dry roasted almonds = 285 mg of calcium

You might also like our article entitled Nutrition and Wound Healing Foods.

 

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