The bone mineral
It’s easy to miss out on calcium, but you’re doing a disservice to your skeleton. After your 20s, you’re mostly losing bone, report experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, so making sure you get enough calcium, vitamin D (which assists your body in making use of the mineral), vitamin K (ditto) can help prevent your bones from becoming porous and brittle—the definition of osteoporosis. The National Academy of Sciences—they set the recommended nutrient intakes—advise that you aim for 1,000 milligrams a day if you’re between 19 and 50 years of age; 1,200 mg if you’re over 50. Watch for the signs you’re falling short.
You turn your nose up at tofu
If you’re a meat lover, tofu probably never comes close to your mouth—but it might be time to rethink that. Not only is this Asian staple packed with protein, it contains more than 40 percent of your daily value of calcium. And studies have shown a correlation between eating soy products and stronger bones, especially among Asian women, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. If you don’t (or can’t) eat a lot of dairy, tofu is a great way to up your calcium intake—so add some to your meals, and while you’re at it, eat more of these other foods that are rich in calcium.
You broke a bone in a seemingly minor accident
If you break your wrist after only a minor fall, it could be a sign that low calcium intake has made your bones brittle. You reach peak bone mass by age 30—after that, your bones slowly lose calcium. “It’s important to have enough calcium in the blood so that your body uses that store of the mineral instead of triggering your bones to release it,” says Shira Sussi, RD, a dietitian in New York City. “Eating more calcium or taking a supplement can help.” Bone fractures are especially common in post-menopausal women, so if you are in your 30s and 40s, you’ll want to, well, bone up on these simple things you can do every day to boost your bone strength.