Health & Wellness

Food for Healthy Bones

By Isabelle Huot


One in four women and one in eight men over the age of 50 has osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones. Two nutrients play a key role in maintaining good bone health: calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium is a mineral found mainly in dairy products; consuming it with vitamin D maximizes absorption. People 51 or older need 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day; for vitamin D, they need 600 international units (IU) daily up to the age of 70. At age 71, the recommended amount rises to 800 IU

Where to find calcium

Parmesan cheese (554 mg/50 g)

Plain regular tofu, medium-firm or firm, made with calcium sulphate (525 mg/150 g)

Gruyère cheese (506 mg/50 g)

Plain Greek yogourt, 2% fat (495 mg/175 g)

Low-fat Swiss cheese (480 mg/50 g)

Toasted sesame seeds (376 mg/60 ml)

1% milk (322 mg/250 ml)

Where to find vitamin D

Canned sockeye salmon, skinless and boneless (644 IU/75 g)

Grilled rainbow trout (192 IU/75 g)

2% milk (103 IU/250 ml)

Enriched soy beverage, unsweetened (87 IU/250 ml)

Plain yogourt, vitamin D added (80 IU/175 g)

Non-hydrogenated soft margarine (66 IU/10 g)

Whole raw egg (61 IU/2 large eggs)

Shake Well!

A recent study has shown that an enriched plant-based beverage such as soy milk or rice milk that hasn’t been shaken before being consumed provides only 31% of the amount of calcium indicated on the nutrition facts panel. To make sure the supplement doesn’t stay at the bottom of the container, it’s important to shake the drink well. 

Vegan Cheese and Yogourt

Because the enrichment of these two food products isn’t mandatory in Canada, you have to check the nutrition facts panel to find out if they’re good sources of calcium and vitamin D. For example, Riviera’s plain Greek-style Oat Based Vegan Delight is enriched; a 175 g (¾ cup) serving contains 23% of the daily value for calcium and 40% of the daily value for vitamin D. However, the Plant Based Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative from President’s Choice is not enriched; a 175 g (¾ cup) serving provides 0% of the daily value for calcium and vitamin D.