Osteoporosisa disease that causes bones to weaken and break is a major health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, 68 percent of whom are women. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein allows you to meet your body’s nutritional needs with nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin Call of which help to build strong bones.

The most important mineral to help fend off osteoporosis is calcium, in connection with vitamin D, but knowing how much calcium to consume is critical. Girls ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 milligrams per day. Women from 19 to 50 need 1,000. If you’re older than 50, you need 1,200 per day. Here are some ideas for fitting all this calcium into your diet and making sure you absorb it properly:

Have a glass of milk once a day. One 8-ounce glass of organic low-fat milk has 290 milligrams of calcium and more than 8 grams of protein. If you are osteoporosis

lactose intolerant, try lactose-reduced and lactose-free products or non-dairy options like coconut and almond milk, both of which are fortified with calcium.

Quit smoking! Smoking raises your chances of getting osteoporosis because it lowers estrogen levels. A lack of estrogen can lead to increased bone loss.

Think about a supplement. Calcium supplements are a great idea. Along with physical activity, adequate calcium and vitamin D, as part of a healthful diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life. Consult your physician or pharmacist to make sure that you’re taking the right amount for your body based on your age and diet.

Eat more greens. The best choices include cooked Chinese cabbage, white beans, kale, bok choy and broccoli.

Limit alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol makes it harder for your body to use the calcium you take in. Caffeine is a diuretic and can flush minerals from your body.

Eat yogurt for breakfast. Your best choice is organic
plain yogurt. Look for brands with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavorings, sugar or other sweeteners. Steer clear of low-fat dairy products with thickeners, gelling agents or gums.

Lift weights. Studies have shown that load-bearing activity improves bone strength and density.

Jillian Michaels is a best-selling author and leading fitness, health and wellness expert. Visit jillianmichaels.com to get a free 30-day trial of Jillians online weight-loss program.