Foods that Support Bone Health in Seniors

senior healthy eating

We take care of our skin, our hair, and our vital organs, but we tend not to think about our bone health until we experience a fracture. This is all too common an occurrence for seniors in particular, who are more likely to experience breaks than other age groups. While this is simply a common sign of aging, there are measures one can take, such as exercising or eating foods that support bone health in seniors.

Certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients provide your bones precisely what they need to stay in tip-top shape. Speak to your doctor about whether or not supplements or medication are right for you, and then consider making changes to your diet.

foods that support bone health in seniors

Who is at the highest risk for bone breaks?

Age is just one factor that may impact your overall bone health. There are other health conditions and genetic factors that increase your risk of fracture.

  • Vitamin D-deficient individuals. We always hear about the importance of calcium for bone health, but vitamin D is essential for absorbing said calcium. Not getting enough vitamin D puts you at a higher risk for breakage.
  • Those who don’t exercise enough. Exercise, specifically strength training and weight-bearing exercises, is essential to maintaining strong bones. Practicing these forms of exercise may protect against bone loss, and increase bone mineral density, strength, and size. Those who are not physically active experience higher rates of fractures and breaks.
  • Thin/small-framed individuals. These individuals are more likely to have less bone mass as they age. This directly impacts their rates of fractures and breaks.
  • Those who have experienced menopause. Following menopause, women experience higher rates of bone loss. A quality diet, exercise, and potential supplements are the solutions to this.
  • Those with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and brittle. Bone density testing is the best way to determine whether or not you have this condition.

Once you’ve spoken to your doctors about the best way to support your bone health, you can start incorporating potential dietary changes.

Foods that are high in calcium

The average adult needs about 1000mg of calcium each day. While most people immediately think of dairy products when considering how to fulfill their calcium intake, there are many other foods high in calcium that may surprise you.


For those looking to add more fruit to their diets as well as calcium, figs are the perfect option. In addition to being high in fiber and antioxidants, figs are a great source of calcium. Five fresh figs contain roughly 90 milligrams of calcium, and half a cup of dried figs contain about 121mg. They are also a great source of magnesium, which is helpful for bone health!


Nut lovers rejoice—almonds are high in calcium! These powerful, heart-healthy little snacks contain 190mg of calcium in a half cup, or 111mg in 2 tablespoons of almond butter. The high-calorie density shouldn’t scare you away from these nuts. Their impressive amounts of protein, antioxidants, fiber, and so much more make them worth it.

healthy eating for seniors


Whether it’s cannellini, great northern, or lima beans, white canned beans are high in fiber, magnesium, and calcium. One cup of white beans contains about 190mg of calcium and are a fantastic way to add nutrients to your soup. You can also add them to your tacos for salads for a different depth of flavor.

Plant milk

We already mentioned how cow’s milk is a great source of calcium, but so is plant milk! Almond milk has roughly 470mg in one eight-ounce glass, and oat milk contains about 350mg. This is great news for those who have developed a milk intolerance in their older years.


One four-ounce serving of tofu has a whopping 430mg of calcium. While it has a bad reputation for being bland, the quality of your tofu dish is all about how you cook it. Pan-frying tofu in the spices of your choice gives the soy-based food a wonderful texture and flavor. Enjoy tofu anywhere you would enjoy meat.

Foods that are high in vitamin D

As mentioned above, vitamin D is a crucial part of helping the body absorb the calcium that is so important for our bone health. The average senior needs about 20 micrograms of vitamin D a day, which you may be able to achieve in your diet!

Fatty fish

Certain kinds of fish are already touted as superfoods, each with its own benefits that those with various needs may be able to reap. Fatty fish, for example, contain high levels of vitamin D, which are essential for absorbing the equally high levels of calcium these fish are packed with. Fatty fish (such as mackerel or sardines) are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may benefit a wide variety of health concerns.

Sweet potato

Rich in vitamins A, B, C, as well as D, sweet potatoes provide you with a wide array of nutrients that are fantastic for your bone health. They are also a good source of magnesium—another mineral that is helpful to your bone health. While many think of sweet potatoes as a decadent Thanksgiving side, they are just as great roasted alongside other root vegetables.


Prunes are more than just a digestive aid—they are also beneficial to one’s bone health. They are often recommended as opposed to plums for a few reasons: plums are only available seasonally, and research shows some nutrients are more concentrated following the dehydration process.

diet for seniors

Other nutrients to incorporate into your diet

In addition to calcium and vitamin D, there are other vitamins and minerals you should make a point to include in your diet. Some include:

  • Magnesium. Similar to vitamin D, calcium can’t do its job properly without magnesium. This mineral is necessary for proper bone formation and health. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, avocado, dark chocolate, and potatoes are all great sources of this nutrient.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen as well as eliminating dangerous free radicals. Citrus, such as grapefruit and oranges, broccoli, and peppers have high amounts of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin K. Higher amounts of vitamin K in one’s diet have been shown to increase bone mineral density and reduce fracture rates. High rates of vitamin K are found in fermented foods such as cheese and sauerkraut.

It is important to note that certain vitamins and minerals do not interact well with certain medications. Remember to consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Assistance with healthy eating through home care

Healthy eating, especially eating designed to target specific problems, can be a challenge as you age. Meal planning is daunting, and actually cooking said meal is exhausting. This can discourage healthy eating and impact one’s overall health.

Luckily, there is an easy way to ensure you eat healthy meals: home care. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff assists seniors in the Chicago area with any activities of daily living they require help with. Whether it’s meal planning, medication reminders, or personal care, our staff is available to offer the diligent, compassionate care you require to remain at home.

If you think your quality of life would improve with home care, give us a call at (773) 274-9262. We would be happy to get you started on that journey.

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