Your bones support your body and protect your organs from injuries. Having healthy bones allows us to live an active and exciting life. That’s why we need to do everything to keep them strong and prevent diseases that can ruin them.
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that’s characterized by bone loss. The changes in bone structure lead to painful fractures. About 44 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and 55 percent of older adulta have this condition. Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D
- Low sex hormones
- Low body weight
- Certain medications
Women are more prone to osteoporosis and fractures than men. About 80% of osteoporosis sufferers are women. But why are women more likely to have poor bone health? Women tend to have thinner and smaller bones than men. Another reason for this is that women experience menopause that’s accompanied by a sharp decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen is known for its bone-protecting properties.
Regardless of your sex and age, you should protect your bones even before you develop any bone disease. Diet is a good way to support bone health and stop the progression of osteoporosis. We’ve collected 12 foods that can boost your bone strength and even improve dental health:
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are full of bone-building minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K. Vitamin K is especially important for your bones because it plays a role in the formation of bone proteins and reduces calcium loss. It’s also beneficial for your dental health. It helps prevent tooth damage and promotes the growth of new dentin.
Salmon contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and more than 100 percent of recommended daily vitamin D intake. This means that eating salmon can improve your bone and heart health simultaneously.
Dates are packed with calcium, manganese, selenium, and copper that foster bone health. Dates are effective in treating osteoporosis. Other amazing benefits of dates include:
- Improved digestion
- Protection against free radicals
- Improved brain function
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Prevention of microbial infections
- Reduced chronic inflammation
- Improved fertility
You probably know that cheese is rich in calcium, a bone-building nutrient. Types of cheese with the highest amount of calcium include hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan and fresh cheeses such as ricotta and mascarpone.
Fortified milk is a great source of vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption. When paired these nutrients can bring you more benefits.
Tuna is another type of fatty fish that’s rich in vitamin D. Three ounces of canned tuna contains 154 IU (about 39% of your daily dose of vitamin D).
Bones aren’t just hard, they’re living organs that have cells and fluids. Your bones need to be constantly fed. Bone cells tend to break down and build up. Therefore your bones remain strong and can heal after a fracture.
Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce the rate of fractures and keep bone formation stable.
Brazil nuts contain plenty of magnesium that protects the bone structure and maintains normal bone density.
8. Orange juice
A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice won’t provide you with calcium or vitamin D, but it’s often fortified with these nutrients. Plus, the ascorbic acid contained in orange juice might help your body absorb calcium more effectively.
9. Tap water
Tap water contains fluoride that’s known for its ability to fight tooth decay Your teeth are also bones that need nutrition and protection. Many communities add this mineral to drinking water to improve tooth health. If you drink only bottled water, you might lack fluoride that’s essential for tooth and bone protection.
Eggs contain a small amount of vitamin D (only 6% of your recommended daily intake) but they’re a quick and easy way to get it. Don’t buy egg whites since they might cut calories, but vitamin D is in the yolk.
Your skeleton is mostly made of calcium, but other essential minerals play a big role too. About 50 percent of the body’s magnesium resides in your bones. Magnesium deficiency is related to fragile bones and calcium loss. All seeds are a powerhouse of magnesium, but pumpkin seeds have the highest amounts of this nutrient.
Yogurt is another good source of calcium. Yogurt also contains probiotic bacteria that provide different health benefits. One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt contains 30% of the RDI for calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B2 and B12.
The Bottom Line
Diet is one of the best ways to improve bone health and strength. Some foods might help prevent osteoporosis and other health issues. Consider adding these foods to your daily diet to stay strong and avoid fractures.