For most people, bone mass peaks in the late 20s, then begins a decade-long decline. For some 10 million Americans, that eventually results in osteoporosis, a condition marked by weak, easily injured bones. Your task: Get adequate amounts of calcium and its best pal, vitamin D, to keep bones strong. In a study of adults 50 and older who had recently fractured bones, 43% were deficient in both of these nutrients.
Women should aim to hit 1,200 milligrams (mg) a day of calcium; men need 1,000 milligrams. You’ll get most of the way there with two slices of cheese in your sandwich (300 mg), a snack of yogurt (200 mg in a 6-ounce cup) and a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese (125 mg). “If people do the three-a-day thing for dairy, they’ll hit their calcium quota,” Rodriguez says. Eating leafy greens, broccoli, beans and almonds will also help you get there.