Extension and Ag Research News


Prairie Fare: Nourish Your Bones

Our bodies are like buildings in some ways.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

As I walked around my neighborhood, I noticed lots of house maintenance and remodeling in progress. Some people were painting their houses and others were having new siding or shingles installed. Others were tackling major construction projects involving framework and trusses.

Our bodies are like buildings in some ways. Like new paint and siding changes the appearance of homes, new clothes, hairstyles and sunglasses can change our outward appearance.

Sometimes, however, we might not think about our inner framework, such as our bones, that make standing and walking possible.

Like home remodeling projects, our bones undergo regular remodeling. We need calcium and other nutrients through life, although the amounts vary with age.

Age 3 and under: 500 milligrams (mg)

Ages 4 to 8: 800 mg

Ages 9 to 18: 1,300 mg

Ages 19 to 50: 1,000 mg

Women, 51-plus (with hormone replacement therapy) and men 51-plus: 1,200 mg

Women, 51-plus (without hormone replacement therapy): 1,500 mg

Pregnant or breast-feeding women: 1,200 mg

The childhood and teen years are the prime years for bone building. Bones grow in both size and density during childhood. Calcium intake among children and teens is a major concern among nutrition experts.

Many children opt for soda pop or other beverages instead of calcium-rich milk. This places them at risk for osteoporosis, a disease characterized by weak bones later in life.

During our 20s and 30s, bones stop growing, but they continue becoming denser and harder as long as we are getting the calcium, vitamin D and weight-bearing physical activity we need. Young adulthood, therefore, is a time to nourish bone density.

By age 40, we enter the bone-losing stage, where calcium begins to move out of the bones faster unless we take some nutrition precautions.

While sometimes thought of as a disease older women get, osteoporosis affects men, too. About 2 million men and 8 million women in the U.S. are believed to have osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Some experts estimate the number of people with low bone mass at more than 40 million in the U.S.

Good nutrition and regular, weight-bearing activity, such as walking, are our first lines of defense to protect our skeletal framework.

Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, are excellent sources of calcium and several other nutrients critical to bone health. June, National Dairy Month, is a good time to explore the wide range of dairy items available.

Plain, low-fat yogurt is among the best sources of calcium per ounce, with about 415 mg per cup. Milk has about 300 mg per cup. About 1.5 ounces of cheese, such as cheddar, mozzarella and American, has about the same amount of calcium in 1 cup of milk.

Other sources of calcium include navy beans, broccoli and salmon with bones. Fortified foods, such as orange juice with added calcium, vary in calcium content. Compare Nutrition Facts labels, where calcium is listed as a “percent daily value.”

To convert percent daily value to milligrams, add a zero to the number by the percent. A product with 30 percent of the daily value has 300 mg calcium. What about calcium supplements? Stay tuned. That will be an upcoming column topic. For more information about osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation Web site at http://www.nof.org.

Here’s a quick and tasty recipe courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association. For more recipes, visit www.midwestdairy.com. Black Bean Quesadillas

1/2 c. canned black beans, drained

2 Tbsp. chunky salsa (mild or medium)

1 Tbsp. chopped green onion

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 c. shredded Pepper Jack cheese

8 tortillas

1 Tbsp. butter

Mash beans slightly and combine with salsa, onion, cilantro and cheese. Divide mixture on four tortillas, spreading almost to edges. Top with remaining tortillas. Cook quesadillas in buttered skillet on medium to medium-low heat until browned, two to three minutes on each side. Cut into wedges before serving.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 210 calories, 10 grams (g) of fat, 24 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of fiber and 15 percent of the daily value for calcium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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