Healthy bones are not only crucial for physical strength, but also for overall health. We know that ‘calcium’ is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health. However, it takes much more than just calcium to take care of your skeletal system.
Just like the rest of our body, our bone health is strongly affected by wrong nutrition. With our food becoming processed and modified, it’s not surprising that we are facing bone health complications regardless of our age and physical activity.
When we are young, our bones are in a rapid growth phase. Even if you break a bone when you are 20, there’s always a chance to put it back together, and it’ll be okay. But by the time we reach our late 20s, we are already done with 95 percent of our peak bone development. That’s right. By the time we enter our 30s, the bone development stops completely. In fact, that’s where the withdrawal of bone deposits begin.
Luckily, you are saved from being doomed by some fantastic nutrients. There’s a lot you can still do to protect and strengthen your bones regardless of your age. The idea is to understand the importance of these nutrients and their sources that you should instantly add to your diet to improve your bone health.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Bone Remodeling with Good Nutrition
Proper nutrition is the key to maintaining great health. However, since our focus is on bones here, we will specifically highlight how you can keep yourself well-nourished with foods that help your bones remodel themselves.
Now is the perfect time to think about all the good food you can add to your diet to ensure healthiest bones. Fortunately, the process is not complicated. In fact, it all revolves around a balanced diet that comprises of fresh, whole foods. Now pair that up with regular exercise and experience the difference yourself.
Here’s the list of top 7 nutrients that can help with improving bone health.
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Our bones contain 99% of our body’s calcium – after all, it is the primary nutrient we need to build and maintain our bones. And this is precisely why health professionals can’t stress enough on the importance of adequate calcium intake for women of all ages.
On average, the recommended amount of calcium intake falls between 800-1200mg. For teenagers, it could be more as they are in their growth stage. Calcium is not only needed for bone development but also for developing bone strength.
Here are the best sources of calcium-rich foods that we should add to our intake:
- Cheddar cheese
- Chinese cabbage
- Tofu with calcium
- Mustard greens
- Bok choy
- Sardines and canned salmon
- Lentils and beans
- Vitamin D
There are tons of health benefits of maintaining vitamin D levels. However, vitamin D is particularly crucial as a bone nutrient. Unfortunately, every other person complains of vitamin D deficiency today.
Vitamin D is not only essential as a core bone health nutrient but is also needed for calcium absorption. If the vitamin D levels drop below 30ng/ml, it could have a severe impact on the calcium absorption too. Thus, it’s essential to maintain those levels between 30 and 40 ng/ml.
Other than your regular (protected) sun exposure, add vitamin D rich foods to your diet. You can even talk to your GP and consider supplements in case you are vitamin D deficient. The good thing is that you can contact a healthcare provider using your laptop and smartphone. Most medical practitioners have now incorporated telemedicine into their practice which means you can get the best health advice without having to visit a medical facility.
Here are some foods packed with vitamin D that you can add to your meals:
- Beef Liver
- Egg yolk
- Food fortified with vitamin D like orange juice, cereals soy milk, and some dairy products
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
Protein is an essential nutrient for bone health. It is responsible for building up to 30 percent of bone mass. Plus, protein is required in maintaining growth factors and hormones levels, which indirectly helps support bone health.
Thus, it’s essential to have enough protein sources in your diet. The following foods will help you get your daily recommended amount of protein:
Naturally, a diet rich in protein is also going to be loaded with phosphorous. Unfortunately, too much of this essential nutrient can be more harmful than beneficial. Excessive phosphorous can wipe off the formation of vitamin D., And that’s something you don’t want to happen.
However, too little of this essential nutrient is also harmful. It can directly affect your bone health. Thus, the key is to create a balance and stick to optimal levels of phosphorous only.
Make sure you add protein-rich foods to your diet to get the daily required amount of phosphorus.
- Vitamins C, E, K
Other than vitamin D, there are other essential vitamins that you should include in your diet to improve bone health. Vitamin K2 is the guiding vitamin that helps with calcium absorption. Foods rich in vitamin K2 include meat, fermented soybeans, dairy, and poultry.
Vitamin C is great for building bones. By adding fresh fruits and a variety of leafy green vegetables to your diet, you can instantly increase your vitamin C levels in the body.
Last but not the least, you need vitamin E to fight off toxins and free radicals responsible for damaging your bones. This means you should consume more dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, tomatoes, and seeds.
- B vitamins
You need B vitamins in your diet to keep a check on homocysteine. Homocysteine stimulates osteoclasts – the type of bone cells involved in bone loss.
If your diet contains B vitamins, you can easily support lean mass. In short, you need to load up your menu with a variety of high-quality whole foods to increase your vitamin B levels for excellent bone health. Poultry, bananas, seafood, fortified cereals, potatoes, and a variety of leafy green vegetables can do the trick.
Even mild magnesium deficiency is reported to be a leading risk factor for osteoporosis. We often miss out on this fantastic nutrient responsible for a ton of other health benefits. While there are many foods rich in magnesium, you can even tackle its deficiency with supplements. List of foods rich in magnesium include:
- Dark leafy green vegetables
These are simple strategies you can use to maintain optimal bone health at any age you like. Not only these simple changes in your dietary pattern guarantee stronger bones, but it’s also all you need for good health and well-being.
Stick to unprocessed, whole foods as much as possible. Don’t turn to the unnatural sources when your real food promises you the best nutrient delivery. More importantly, take charge of your health and avoid falling into the unhealthy lifestyle trap again.