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Nutrition for your bones and joint care

By Cherice Bronte-Tinkew, RD

‘The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…and the song goes on. It’s a great song for children to understand how our bodies work, but how do we keep them strong as we get older?’

Do men and women differ when it comes to the needs and strength of their bones and joints?

Well, a balanced diet truly helps to keep us as healthy as possible as we age, and there are some very important nutrients needed for supporting our bones and joints. Can you imagine if you lost the ability to catch a ball, bend your knees or pick up your grandchild? Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are some of the medical conditions that can develop as we age.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is occurring in more younger persons who are overweight or obese. Osteoporosis is a disease that develops when bone mineral density and mass decrease, often diagnosed late when an older person has a fall or injury.

Calcium, Vitamin D and Omega 3 are especially important for the health of your bones and joints. Calcium contributes to bone density and can be found in milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, soy milk and soybeans.

Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium in the body and can be sourced from sunlight, eggs, fish, mushrooms, fortified cereals, and soy milk. Omega-3 fatty acids support our joints and reduces inflammation, meaning less aching or creaking joints. Good sources include fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon, fish oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil and olive oil.

The recommended intake for calcium increases by approximately 30 per cent for women after age 51 and for men after age 70. Vitamin D recommended intake remains the same for ages 19 to 70 but increases for both men and women above 70 years. Omega-3 fatty acid adequate intake is higher for men compared to women aged 18 years and older.

It’s also important to remain physically active, as this helps oxygen to flow through the cartilage of joints and reduces pain. Regular walks are beneficial, and for those who find it too difficult, swimming or water aerobics are easier on the joints.


Cherice Bronte-Tinkew has been a registered dietitian for over nine years. She is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Nutritionists and Dietitians.

For more information: Facebook and Instagram pages @JustCherNutrition.


References: National Institute of Health, Dietary Supplements fact sheet USA website

Recommended Nutrient Intakes and Population Nutrient Intake Goals for the Caribbean, Pan American Health Organization, 2020