Many nutrients are involved in keeping bones healthy. Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important.
Calcium is a mineral that’s essential to your body functioning properly and is stored in your bones. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Not getting enough calcium in your diet can lead to fragile, brittle bones that are more prone to fractures and disease.
Vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and phosphorus are other important nutrients for bone health.
Dark and leafy greens
Dark and leafy green vegetables like arugula, kale and watercress are some of the best source of calcium.
Although people include spinach in this list, spinach contains oxalic acid which hinders our body’s capacity to absorb calcium.
Just because cheese is full of calcium doesn’t mean you need to eat it in excess (packing on the pounds won’t help your joints!).
Just 1.5 ounces (think a set of dice) of cheddar cheese contains more than 30% of your daily value of calcium, so enjoy in moderation.
Most cheeses contain a small amount of vitamin D, but not enough to put a large dent in your daily needs.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach are natural plant sources of calcium, but that’s not all.
Nature has expertly blended a host of bone healthy nutrients in our leafy greens, with magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C and phytonutrients all provided together in spinach giving us a total package for bone health.
The little known Vitamin K is an especially important component of spinach, as a deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to lead to increased risk of bone loss.
Therefore, scientists are recommending us to maintain adequate levels of vitamin K in order to prevent the risk of developing osteoporosis and to decrease the risk of bone fractures.
Half a cup of cooked spinach provides 500% of your daily requirement of vitamin K, so you can be assured spinach will meet all your vitamin K needs.
There is some concern over the content of oxalates in spinach which can negatively affect bone health by leeching calcium out of the bones.
But lightly cooking, boiling or steaming spinach before eating helps to remove some of the oxalates and preserves the vital nutrients for a delicious and healthy accompaniment to your meal!
A glass of fresh-squeezed OJ doesn’t have calcium or vitamin D, but it’s often fortified to contain these nutrients. Try Tropicana’s Calcium + Vitamin D to get a boost of these essentials.
Also, studies have shown that the ascorbic acid in OJ may help with calcium absorption, so you may be more likely to get the benefits of this fortified drink.
Dark leafy greens like bok choy hold a whack of calcium and magnesium for bone health.
Along with being excellent for your skeleton, bok choy contains vitamin A, fibre and antioxidants.Add to stir-fries, soups or enjoy on its own, like in this salmon and soy bok choy recipe.
Sesame seeds contain various nutrients for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins K and D.
You must daily consume at least one-fourth cup of these crunchy seeds, in roasted or dried form.
You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on cooked vegetables, toss them into your favorite salad, and add them to stir-fry vegetables.
If you do not like the nutty taste of the seeds, you can try sesame butter. Along with sesame seeds, you must also include flaxseeds in your diet.
Another excellent source of calcium and vitamin D is sardines.
In fact, sardines contain as much calcium per serving as milk and dairy products.
Sardines also contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and vitamin B12.As these little fish are perishable in nature, the most common way to enjoy sardines is from a can.
The canned sardines can be added to pizza, salads or any mashed dish.
In many places, sardines are also available in fresh form and they can be easily added to salads, pastas and sauces.
You mightn’t think of tofu as a calcium rich food, but in fact tofu and its main ingredient soya beans, are good sources of calcium.
Tofu is a versatile and highly nutritious food, which is also rich in protein, iron and other bone healthy minerals like manganese, selenium and phosphorous.
Tofu and soy milk, whether fortified with extra calcium or not are excellent sources of non-dairy calcium, providing a lactose-free alternative to milk with soy milk, tofu desserts and even ice cream based on soy.
One cup of firm tofu contains an incredible 832 mg of calcium, compared to 304 mg of calcium in a cup of regular milk.
Tofu comes in both firm and soft varieties, and is a delicious ingredient perfect for a stir fries and Asian style dishes.
Fry lightly before adding to fresh, crunchy vegetables in a stir fry, or add some brown sugar to soft tofu for a traditional Chinese dessert that’s not only delicious but good for your bones, too.
Nuts are not only delicious, but they are well-known for being tiny powerhouses of essential vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, so it’s not really a surprise that they’re good for our bones, too.
Almonds are a fantastic source of the bone strengthening mineral magnesium.
Providing 20% of the recommended intake, and they are also the only nuts to provide a source of calcium, too.
Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fats which also helps to preserve and strengthen bones.
Pistachios are another delicious nut variety that are high in magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6.
Research has shown potassium helps to maintain good bone density, while vitamin B6 regulates levels of homocysteine, a compound believed to contribute to weak bones.
Nuts make an ideal mid-afternoon snack when the time between lunch and dinner seems to drag on and you need a pick me up to get through the afternoon slump.
A handful of mixed nuts once a day is a great way to incorporate a healthy snack that also assists with maintain bone strength.
As nuts are high in fiber and healthy fats they also keep you feeling fuller for longer. While providing healthy vitamins and minerals to nourish your whole body.
Hands-down, Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods we can consume daily.
Most importantly, bone broth is rich in two very special amino acids: proline and glycine, as well, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants (especially calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus).
Consumers can use bone broth in cooking vegetables, stir fry’s or even sip it like tea.
I like to make a large batch of bone broth, freeze it in icecube trays and pop out a few cubes for cooking.
Black Beans and Kelp
In Chinese medicine, we look at vitality (what we call Jing) as coming from our kidneys.
As we age, we use up our Jing. And we start to see signs that we associate with aging: graying hair, weak knees and back, and weaker bones.
Interestingly, in western medicine, the kidneys play a role in bone health as well; healthy kidneys turn vitamin D into an active hormone (calcitriol), which helps increase calcium absorption from the intestines into the blood.
So, from my perspective, when I look to strengthen bones I look to strengthen the kidneys.
There are two foods I recommend, depending on other signs and symptoms a patient might have. The first is black beans.
In Chinese medicine, when we look at food, we look at the “energy” of that food.
You might think of this as the nature of the food. Most legumes are considered good for the kidneys because they are the pure Jing or vitality of the plant.
When you eat beans you consume that vitality.
Additionally, black beans contain about 135 mg of calcium per half cup serving.Foods that are naturally salty are also considered nourishing for the kidneys.
So the second food I would consider is kelp.
The slightly fishy flavor of kelp can turn some people away. So I like to use kelp granules as a salt replacement on fish and eggs and in soup.