Bone Health and Nutrition

Written by UConn Dietetics Masters student Daniela Vega

There are many nutrients that are important to bone health, but two of the most important are calcium and vitamin D. A good diet is one of the building blocks for healthy bones, which also includes exercise and avoiding certain risk factors for falls. Poor bone health over many years can cause conditions such as osteoporosis and increase the risk of bones breaking from a fall1.

Healthy Nutrients for Bones 


In general, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of calcium for adults is 1,000mg to 1,200mg of calcium per day2.  That would be equal to 3-4 eight-ounce servings of milk or yogurt. This mineral isn’t made in our bodies therefore it must be supplied through dietary sources or calcium supplements. If there isn’t enough calcium in the bloodstream, then our body will start taking the nutrient from our bones. This could lead to weaker, thinner bones. 

cheeseFood Sources of Calcium: 

  • Milk, cheese, and other dairy foods 
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and okra, but not spinach 
  • Soybeans 
  • Tofu 
  • Plant-based drinks (such as soya drink) with added calcium 
  • Nuts & Seeds: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, sunflowers seeds, or pistachios
  • Bread and baked good made with fortified flour 
  • Fish: Salmon, tuna, sardines, etc 

Vitamin D

While calcium is needed to keep bones healthy and strong, vitamin D is needed to help absorb the calcium in our intestine, and then into our bloodstream. Did you know your body can create vitamin D through your skin by sunlight?

Food Sources of Vitamin D: 

  • Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna, egg yolks and tofu 
  • Some meats, especially lean pork  
  • Fortified foods, such as some breakfast cereals, milks, plant-based alternative milks, yogurts and orange juice 




This material is funded by UDSA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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