Super Foods for Your Bones
Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because you may not realize you have osteoporosis until you have a fracture or an obvious change in posture. Osteoporosis means “porous bones.” Our bones are strongest at about age 30, then begin to lose density over time. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis that results in significant bone loss and increases the risk of fracture. About half of women 50 and older will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
Bone loss is a natural part of aging, but not everyone will lose enough bone density to develop osteoporosis. Keep your bones healthy by incorporating various super foods that’ll boost bone health in a tasty way.
Dairy products are brimming with bone-strengthening calcium – a crucial nutrient for healthy bones. Incorporate milk, yogurt or cheese into your regular diet to get more calcium. Aim to eat three servings of dairy daily. The recommended amount of calcium for adults is 1,000 milligrams per day and increases to 1,200 mg per day for women over 50 and men over 70.
Go darker with your greens. Nothing beats calcium for your bones. Sure, you can get it from dairy, but did you know calcium is also found in many vegetables? Dark leafy greens like bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens are rich in calcium. One cup of cooked turnip greens has about 200 mg of calcium (20% of your daily goal). Dark greens also contain vitamin K, which can also reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
Sweet potatoes contain magnesium and potassium – two lesser known ingredients that help keep bones healthy. One delicious way to fuel your body with these nutrients is by eating a medium-sized sweet potato with no salt that contains about 31 mg of magnesium and 542 mg of potassium. Try swapping your typical potato sides with a sweet potato version.
Add citrus like grapefruit or a navel orange to start off your day. Wake up your taste buds and incorporate vitamin C to help prevent bone loss. One whole pink or red grapefruit has about 88 mg of vitamin C, giving you the amount you need for your entire day.
Figs are super bone-strengthening fruits that contain calcium, potassium and magnesium. Fresh figs are typically available through the summer and fall, but you can find them dried all year. Half a cup of dried figs has 121 mg of calcium.
Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain Vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which also aides bones.
Almonds, as with some other nuts and seeds, are chock-full of calcium, magnesium and protein – essential nutrients that build strong, healthy bones. Eat a handful of nuts a day. Pistachios and sunflower seeds have similar benefits as well.
Vegetarian proteins like Tofu are nutritional powerhouses and can contain more than 860 mg of calcium. Research suggests that tofu has other bone-building benefits. Since tofu contains isoflavones, it may make soy useful in warding off bone disease in women after menopause.
Smarter sweeteners like molasses are sources of calcium. In just one tablespoon of the sweet syrup you’ll get 41 mg of calcium. You can bake with molasses, top your yogurt or oatmeal, or mix it into a smoothie for a sweet dose of calcium.