Are you interested in keeping your bones strong and healthy? If so, exercises like walking and lifting weights can help, but your diet is also incredibly important! A bone-healthy diet is going to include minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins like vitamin D and K. Below is a guide to some of the best foods you can eat to get the nutrients you need.
If you want to keep your bones strong, yogurt is one of the best foods that you can eat. A single serving of yogurt will provide you with 30% of your calcium and 20% of your vitamin D for the day. It is also incredibly versatile and is great in smoothies or parfaits.
Apart from all of this, yogurt is good even for those who are lactose intolerant as it is an excellent source of probiotics, the healthy bacteria that live in your gut and that can improve both your digestion and immunity. However, be sure to choose one that is unsweetened and has live, active cultures.
Apart from yogurt, cheese is another great way to go to support your bone health. Cheese is high in fat, but the good news is that you don’t have to eat a lot to get the calcium you need — just an ounce and a half of cheddar cheese can give you 30% of the calcium you need for the day. Keep in mind, however, that the amount of calcium will vary from one cheese to another.
Apart from being high in calcium, cheese is also a great source of protein and is good to include in vegetarian diets.
These fish may be tiny, but they come packed with a bone-strengthening combination of calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D. This is because sardines are eaten with their bones still in them. They are great when added to salads or can also be placed on toast for a quick and easy snack.
Sardines are also part of a healthy diet because they can give you a big dose of protein while still staying low in fat.
4. Salmon and Other Fatty Fish
Salmon and other fatty fish are great for preventing bone weakness with a winning combination of calcium and vitamin D — just a few ounces of salmon will give you 100% of your daily vitamin D requirements. Not a salmon fan? That’s okay, other fishes like tuna and mackerel are also great choices.
These fish will not only give you strong bones but a strong heart: they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol naturally.
A bone-healthy diet doesn’t just have to rely on meat and dairy products — there are plenty of plant-based foods that will keep your bones strong as well. One of the best of these is spinach, which gives you a rich combination of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, with few calories and absolutely no fat!
The good news doesn’t end there: spinach is also great for getting your iron and fiber for the day. And if you want to explore other greens that will also be great for your health, collards, turnip greens, kale, bok choy, and other leafy green vegetables are your top picks.
6. Fortified Orange Juice
It might come as a surprise, but fruits are also a great way to protect your bones. One particularly good drink is orange juice that has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D. What makes it even better is that it is already high in potassium.
Orange juice is also high in vitamin C, which will help develop your immune system. However, because it is also high in calories and sugar, it is something you will want to enjoy in moderation.
Orange juice is not the only way to go if you are looking for fruits that will help build up your bones. Figs, too, are a great choice, since they are not only high in calcium but also in other important nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Keep in mind that there is a difference in the values between fresh fruits (with 90 mg of calcium) and dried ones (with 120 mg).
Figs are also great for you because they give you a load of fiber, which can improve your digestive system and, because it curbs your appetite, help fight hunger pains.
Potatoes don’t usually come to mind when you think about foods that prevent bone loss, but they actually are a good food to include in your diet. They have a rich combination of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K. They are especially good if you prepare them with their skins still on.
However, while potatoes are high in nutrients, they are another food that is best enjoyed in moderation, as they are calorie-dense and, due to being full of starch, can spike your blood sugar
Almonds are another nutrient-rich food that will give you loads of both calcium and vitamin K. You can eat them raw as a snack or enjoy them in the form of nut butters or nut-based milks like almond milk (which makes a great base for a breakfast smoothie).
Almonds are also rich in good-for-you fats, proteins, and fiber, and studies have shown that people who eat them regularly are more likely to have a healthy body weight than those who do not.
Are you vegetarian but still want to avoid the problem of weak bones? Then load up on the soy! In all its forms — tofu, tempeh, or soy milk — soy is a great source of not only calcium, but also of compounds called isoflavones, which studies have shown to ward off osteoporosis for women who have hit menopause.
Soy is also both low in fat and high in protein, making it a great choice for an overall healthy diet.
So, if you want to build those strong and healthy bones that will keep you fit and active even as you age, load up on the foods above. They will provide you with a rich blend of vitamins and minerals that will keep osteoporosis at bay — and give you a wide range of health benefits on the side.