What's your favorite breakfast cereal? There's no doubt that Americans love to eat cereal for breakfast; in fact, the average American eats about 10 pounds of the stuff in one year. That's 160 bowls! Of course, there are hundreds of cereals to choose from and some are healthier than others. In honor of March 7th as National Cereal Day, the staff at Resurgens Orthopaedics would like to tell you a bit about how your daily bowl of cereal can be an important part of maintaining your bone health and how you can make healthier choices in your breakfast foods.
Vitamin D, Calcium, and Your Bone Health
As you're probably already aware, calcium is the hard, white mineral that makes up your bones and teeth. While calcium is a crucial component of our musculoskeletal system, our bodies aren't capable of producing it on their own. That means in order to get the calcium you need, you'll have to obtain it some other way - by eating foods rich in calcium.
But what's the point of consuming calcium if your body can't use it? That's where vitamin D comes in. Vitamin D allows your body to absorb the calcium in your diet so it can be used to build bones and perform other important functions. If you're not getting enough vitamin D, you could suffer from bone loss or low bone density which, over time, could lead to serious conditions like osteoporosis or rickets. So how can you make an effort to get more calcium and vitamin D in your diet?
Breakfast Cereals Fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D
While milk produced in the U.S. has been fortified with vitamin D since the 1920s, it wasn't until the 1980s that cereal manufacturers got in on the fortification craze, adding both vitamin D and calcium to their cereals in an effort to combat osteoporosis. Many of today's most popular cereals are still fortified, so if you're looking to add some extra vitamin D and calcium to your diet, there are a few things you should look for.
First of all, sugary children's cereals may take care of your sweet tooth but they're unlikely to contain added nutrients. If you want to boost your consumption of vitamins and minerals, you'd be better served going for the more "grown-up" cereals like bran flakes, oat circles, or corn flakes. If you're not sure, take a look at the nutrition information on the side of the box to see how much of your recommended daily allowances can be fulfilled by your cereal of choice.
Other Breakfast Foods with Vitamin D and Calcium
If you're not a fan of cereal, there are some other great options to get your calcium fix. Milk and yogurt are both great sources of calcium and many orange juices are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. If you're lactose intolerant, some soy milk brands have added vitamins and minerals while egg yolks and fatty fish like tuna and salmon can take care of your vitamin D needs.
If you're concerned about your bone health, the best thing to do is talk to a doctor who can help you find a diet that satisfies your taste buds while providing the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Whether it's for your health or just for fun, we hope you'll have a bowl of cereal this March 7th. Thanks for reading and enjoy your breakfast!