In a fast paced society, it is very difficult to research thousands of different sources in order to find the best kinds of foods to alleviate chronic ailments. Many people are unaware of how much nutrition can help improve quality of life and overall health. We believe that through healthy lifestyle we can manage, control, or completely avoid 60-70% of known illnesses.
Here are the top foods for health improvement:
- Oatmeal: We wrote all about the health benefits of oatmeal here. It’s a great, versatile option to start off your day because oats are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. For an easy overnight oats recipe we made, click here. (Note: Steel cut oats are better than instant oats).
- Flax seeds: Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.
- Omega-3 Rich Fish: To read all about the health benefits we found on Omega-3 fatty acids, click here. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce risk of a heart attack by 33%.
- Avocados: Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while raising the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in your body. Avocados can easily be added to salads, wrap, or enjoyed on it’s own. For all the reasons avocados are a superfood , read our article here.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whichever is your favorite—are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Olive Oil: Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties—they’re the least processed—and use them instead of butter when cooking. To read our list of healthiest cooking oils, click here.
- Beans and Legumes: Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.
- Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and are full of mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fiber in the diet and are a great source of healthy fat.
- Spinach: Spinach can help keep heart healthy thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. Although increasing your intake of any veggies is sure to give your heart a boost. In a wide-range study over 12 years, men who ate at least 2.5 servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn’t eat the veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17%.
- Soy: Is known to lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it’s still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet. Natural sources of soy are: edamame, tempeh, or organic silken tofu. Also soy milk is a great addition to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Just keep an eye out of added sodium in certain soy products. (Disclaimer: The scientific community is split on whether soy products are good or bad for health, with half of studies praising soy products and the other half disagreeing- we will let you decide for yourself how you feel about them.)
Lowering Blood Sugar:
- Lima Beans: Are high in soluble fiber which slows digestion and prevents blood sugar from rising too quickly after you eat. Just don’t eat them raw because they are toxic uncooked.
- Oatmeal: is another super source of soluble fiber, which keeps blood sugar on an even keel and may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Bitter Melon: This vegetable looks like a cucumber with warts, and it’s an Indian folk remedy for diabetes. As the name implies, bitter melon has a taste that’s a long way from sweet but it can be cooked or added to other dishes. In one study, supplements of bitter melon juice improved the glucose tolerance of 73% of patients with Type 2 diabetes.
- Peanuts: eat a handful of peanuts or a Peanut butter because the fat, fiber and protein in these nuts can stave off blood sugar spikes. A study found that women who ate peanut butter (or an ounce of nuts) five or more times a week lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 30%. Just be mindful of portion control because peanuts are high in calories.
- Cabbage: is low in calories and high in fiber, with a glycemic index rating of near zero, meaning that it converts to sugar very slowly in the body.
- Vinegar: vinegar has long been used to cure a wide range of ailments. The acetic acid in vinegar (the compound that’s responsible for its tart taste and smell) helps stabilize blood sugar levels after eating. So pick salad dressings that have a vinegar base for added benefits.
- Okra: is a low glycemic index food and it is low in calories. Okra contains a great deal of soluble fiber, which slows digestion of carbohydrates in the intestinal tract and can help stabilize blood sugar.
- Cinnamon: We praised it’s benefits in an article here. Cinnamon a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and helps lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin’s ability to respond to glucose in the blood. Sprinkle it on oatmeal, have it in tea form, sprinkle it on fruit!
- Prickly Pear/ Nopal: is one of the lowest foods on the glycemic index. Several studies in Mexico have shown blood sugar lowering effects.
- Grapefruit: Not only do grapefruits have plenty of vitamin C, they also contain naringenin, an antioxidant that appears to cut the risk of developing insulin resistance.
- Spinach: This leafy green is a great source of magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. People with type 2 diabetes often have lower levels of magnesium in their blood.
- Celery: contains androsterone, an odorless hormone released through male perspiration that turns women on.
- Avocados: In Mayan and Aztec cultures, the fruit was viewed as a powerful aphrodisiac. Avocados provide many nutrients that are important for sexual function, including beta carotene, magnesium, and vitamin E.
- Oysters: A known aphrodisiac for years, oysters improve dopamine levels which boosts libido in men and women. Oysters are also high in zinc which is vital for testosterone production and healthy sperm.
- Pumpkin seeds: high in zinc which is essential for healthy sperm production and preventing testosterone deficiency in men.
- Asparagus: Viewed as an aphrodisiac for centuries, this vegetable is packed with a lot of Vitamin E, which is often referred to as the “sex vitamin”because it is so fundamental to sexual health.
- Olives: According to the ancient Greek, green olives made a man more virile, and black olives increased desire in women.
- Raw Almonds (and nuts in general): provide essental fatty acids that are necessary for the production of sex hormones in the body.
- Raw Garlic: contains allicin, which is thought to increase blood flow to sexual organs. Just make sure you pop a breathe mint before kissing your partner.
- Hot Chilis: The capsaicin in hot chilis promotes the release of chemicals that raise heart rate and release endorphins- which lead to increased libido!
- Watermelon: often referred to as “natural Viagra”, this fruit contains citrulline amino acid which is good for the cardiovascular system and helps relax the blood vessels that increase sex drive.
- Chocolate: All chocolate comes from the cocoa bean. It has more antioxidants than green tea or red wine. It also contains a stimulating chemical known as phenylethlamine, that stimulates the sense of excitement and well being. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study that found, women who enjoyed a piece of chocolate every day had a more active sex life than those who didn’t. We recommend 60% or more cocoa dark chocolate.
- Dark Chocolate: Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple. We recommend 70% cocoa dark chocolate as it contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. Also, if applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness! To read more health benefits of dark chocolate, read our article here.
- Berries: Berries have a very high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries weighed in with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful.
- Greek Yogurt: It contains about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and the protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines.
- Kidney Beans: Are known to zap zits! They’re high in zinc, and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels.
- Soy (beans, and milk): Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation. Drinking soy milk in your latte and eating edamame can even out skin tone.
- Steel-cut oats: Steel-cut oatmeal is less processed than other varieties, so it retains more vitamins. Also, it takes longer to break down in your body, which helps keep your blood sugar stable. This is important because studies found that spiked blood sugar elevates your body’s level of androgens, hormones that can contribute to wrinkles. Oats are also great for healing the body.
- Pomegranate: They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants which fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. Applied topically, they can reduce lines and moisturize.
- Sunflower Seeds: Eat a handful daily because they are loaded with vitamin E, which keeps your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. Apply topically to heels and lips to stay moisturized.
- Walnuts and Flax Seeds: Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. To read more health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, read our article here.
- Peppers (red, green, and yellow!): Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Also, studies found that carotenoids, the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies, can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Fat Burning Foods:
- Lean Meats: Protein has a high thermo genic effect- this means that out of what you eat, 30% of the calories you take in from your meal are burned during digestion.
- Green Tea: According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking 4 cups of green tea a day had participants loose close to seven pounds, over an eight-week period, due to the EGCG compound found in green tea.
- Asparagus: Due to the plant chemical asparagine, an alkaloid that affects the cells and helps break down the fat, your body more easily removes its waste, which makes it a great fat burner.
- Beans: Also a great fat burner. Beans are high in protein and low in fat. Not only is this is a great choice for vegetarians, but because it is low on the GI scale, it is great for metabolizing and releasing fatty acids.
- Cage Free Eggs: Another great source of protein and low in calories. Eggs will give you the energy to help you loose fat.
- Fish: The best known source of fatty acids. Fish is high in DHA- Omega 3 fatty acid and in protein which helps build muscles while simultaneously helping burn fat.
- Hot Peppers: Capsaicin- a compound that gives peppers their heat, is great for melting down the extra fat your body has stored.
- Grapefruit: According to University of Western Ontario, grapefruit is great for burning excess fat rather than storing it. Grapefruit balances out blood sugar levels because of naringenin- a flavonoid in grapefruit and helps to prevent metabolic syndrome. According to University of California, participants were asked to drink a cup of grapefruit before each meal. Within three months, they had lost 3 to 10 pounds.
- Oatmeal Original (No Sugar): Rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber- this makes oatmeal a perfect candidate for burning fat and it’s very easy to prepare on-the-go!
- Garlic: A great fat burning component of garlic is a compound called Allicin. Allicin is known for helping the body flush unnecessary fat. So try your best to include garlic in your meals if you want that unnecessary fat gone.
- Nuts and Seeds: researchers from the University of Barcelona found that men and women eating almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts had higher levels of serotonin metabolites. In addition, just one ounce of mixed nuts a day may also help reduce obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Greek yogurt: This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you’ll find in milk or regular yogurt, and it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the “Go” command, alerting your body to release feel-good neurotransmitters.
- Ocean-going cold water fish: such as salmon and mercury-free tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help improve depression symptoms. A past study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that volunteers with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had fewer depression symptoms and a more positive outlook.
- Flaxseed: another great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also are rich in magnesium and B-vitamins, nutrients that help us combat stress.
- Soy isoflavones: help with mood and mental function. These foods are also rich sources of vegetarian (no-cholesterol) protein which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. Add soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk to your daily diet.
- Avocado: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, and potassium.
- Asparagus: This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate also add to asparagus’s happiness-promoting profile because research has shown that up to 50 percent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels.
- Dark chocolate: which contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol. This nutrient can help boost brain levels of endorphins and serotonin, helping to improve your mood. The recommended dose is one ounce per day (not the whole bag!)
- DHA: is a particular form of omega-3 fatty acid that can be found in many foods. But including organic DHA-fortified eggs in the diet will also provide a good source of protein and tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when people eat eggs for breakfast, they feel more satisfied and therefore consume fewer calories throughout the day compared to a high-carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel.
- Mussels: loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of brain-protecting vitamin B12 on the planet. That makes it an important food source, considering that a significant portion of the U.S. population is B12 deficient. Maintaining healthy B12 levels preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. Mussels also contain trace nutrients that are important to balancing your mood, including zinc, iodine, and selenium, things vital to keeping your thyroid, your body’s master mood regulator, on track.
- Edamame: one cup of soybeans has over 122% of your daily of tryptophan. We picked it because it is the healthiest and freshest way to eat soy.
- Halibut: is a fish that is rich in B6, a natural sleep aid. B6 can also help relieve leg cramps because it induces the production of serotonin.
- Miso: The amino acids in miso (which is fermented soy beans) boost the body’s production of melatonin, which is a natural sleep inducer.
- Flax Seeds: when it’s sadness or worry that is keeping you up at night, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of flax seeds on your meal at night, its high in omega 3 fatty acids, which affect the brain as natural mood lifters.
- Oatmeal: a rich source of melatonin, which natural causes sleepiness, coupled with the warmth, leads to a goods nights rest!
- Warm Milk: Not just a myth! The calcium in the milk helps the brain absorb the tryptophan also found in milk. Plus, psychologically, most of us remember this as a childhood bedtime drink.
- Greek Yogurt: The protein in greek yogurt stabilizes your blood sugar and suppresses your appetite during the night. The calcium aids in stress reduction, which allows you to calm down and recover from your day- leading to a better night’s rest.
- Hard Boiled Egg: The protein in the egg will keep you full all night because the digestion of protein is long and slow.
- Almonds: A good source of magnesium, which helps the muscles in your body to slow down and relax. As soon as your muscles relax, so does your brain- which means sleep! Almonds also contain a protein which stabilizes blood sugar, leading to more restful sleep.
- Chamomile Tea: This tea has been used for centuries as a natural sleep-aid because of its widely known soothing effects on anxiety.
- Onions: For centuries, Eastern cultures have taught that onions improve brain function associated with memory and focus. Today, science proves that the anthocyanin and quercetin compounds in onions prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. not only reduce the level of toxins in your bloodstream, but they also contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that enhance blood flow to the brain and promote neural activity.
- Spinach: the folic acid that is found in ample amounts in Spinach has been shown to reverse memory loss in studies.
- Dark Chocolate: 70% and more cocoa dark chocolate has been proven to enhance memory, alertness, and clarity by increasing blood flow to the game.
- Apples: The peel of the apple contains a powerful antioxidant called quercetin that enhances memory function.
- Nuts: contain protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all important to brain function and brain health.
- Avocados: high in omega-3s, helps lower bad cholesterol and reduce enhances blood flow to fuel your brain power.
- Popcorn: Pop your way to better memory! Popcorn contains vitamins B6, B12, and E- known to enhance focus and brain power.
- Tomatoes: Contain Lycopene which is known to prevent free-radical damage to cells- a known factor behind Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Greek Yogurt: Foods rich in calcium improve nerve function. Yogurt in particular contains the amino acid tyrosine which is a key factor in producing neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin- these neurotransmitters lead to improved memory and alertness.
- Chammomile Tea: Has been proven to reduce anxiety. Read our list of healthiest teas.
- Increase your Intake of Omega-3s. They protect against inflammation and have been shown to improve people’s overall mood, ability to cope with stress, and ability to kick substance-abuse habits. The many benefits of Omega-3 are listed in this article we wrote.
- Eat B-complex Vitamins. The B vitamins are believed to combat anxiety by affecting your brain’s production of neurotransmitters. Natural sources of B Vitamins:
- B-6: legumes, cereal grains, leafy vegetables
- B-12: eggs, salmon, cheese
- Thiamin: seeds, pork, nuts
- Biotin: peanuts, cauliflower, mushrooms
- Riboflavin: cottage cheese, liver, yogurt
- Niacin: mushrooms, meat, wheat
- Pantothenic Acid: legumes, eggs, yeast
- Folate: citrus, leafy greens, seeds
- Include Protein in your Breakfast: This makes your breakfast more energizing, which can help combat the effects of anxiety during the day. Read our article on the importance of eating breakfast here.
- Stay Hydrated! Even mild dehydration can negatively affect your mood. Read our article on drinking more water here.
- Avoid Simple Carbohydrates (like sugary foods) and Eat complex carbohydrates. These are believed to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, which has a calming effect. Read our article on switching to whole grains here.
- Eat Foods High in Tryptophan beacuse this amino acid can reduce anxiety by promoting better sleep. Examples include cheese, chicken, soy products, eggs, tofu, fish, milk, turkey, nuts, peanuts and peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
- Try Valerian Root: It is known to be a natural sedative and sleep aid.
- Avocados: Dilate blood vessels, block artery-clogging toxins, lower cholesterol and contains the nutrient glutathione, which blocks 30 different carcinogens and aids the liver in detoxifying synthetic chemicals.
- Almonds: Contains protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels and remove impurities from the bowels. Also contains magnesium, fiber, and calcium.
- Blueberries: Have anti-viral properties, work as natural antibiotics in the urinary tract by blocking bacteria and preventing infection. Contain natural aspirin that help diminish chronic inflammation and pain.
- Cabbage and Kale: Because of it’s antiviral and antibacterial properties, cabbage cleanses the digestive tract. Also contain many anti-cancer and antioxidants that help the liver cleanse and break down excess hormones.
- Beets: Contain a potent mixture of phytochemicals and minerals that make them liver cleansers, infection fighters, and blood purifiers. Beets boost the body’s cellular intake of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers.
- Cranberries: Are filled to the brim with powerful antibiotic and antiviral substances to help cleanse the body of viruses and bacteria in the urinary tract.
- Flaxseeds: Omega-3s, which these seeds are full of, are necessary to maintaining a healthy immune system and cleansing many of the body’s functions, including keeping your brain healthy.
- Lemons: Great at detoxifying the liver. Contain more than 20 cancer-fighting substances that fight the effects of pollution and cell damage.
- Seaweed: Seaweed binds to radioactive waste and heavy metals in the body, helping to eliminate them.
- Fresh Garlic: Gets Rid of intestinal parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses from the blood and intestines. Helps lower blood pressure by cleansing the arteries, and cleanses the respiratory tract by diminishing mucus buildup.
- Water: Most Americans walk through life chronically dehydrated and fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Even a small drop in your body’s water levels can hurt you. A recent study from Tufts University found that mild dehydration — a loss of just 1 to 2% of body weight as water — was enough to impair thinking.
- Pumpkin Seeds: These are great energy boosters because of their levels of magnesium. When researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service restricted intake of the mineral among 13 women ages 47 to 75 for 4 months, they found that those with magnesium deficiencies required more oxygen uptake during physical activity, used more energy, and therefore tired more easily.
- Greek Yogurt: because it is full of probiotics, and research suggests that an imbalance in microorganisms in the digestive tract is partially to blame for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Swedish researchers tested the effects of eating yogurt rich in probiotics—“good bacteria” that aids digestive health—on 15 CFS patients. After eating 2 deciliters (about 6.8 ounces) of yogurt twice daily for 4 weeks, 14 of 15 study subjects reported improvements in fatigue symptoms, physical health, or mental health.
- Wheat Bran: High in fiber, not only can it help you fight fat, it turns out the nutrient can also help you feel more awake. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who ate high-fiber wheat bran cereal suffered less emotional distress, experienced fewer cognitive difficulties, and were less fatigued than their counterparts who did not eat as much fiber. Participants had 10% more energy.
- Whole Grains: are complex carbohydrates, which were wrote about here. The body digests and releases complex carbs slowly, keeping your blood sugar (and your mood) stable.
- Nuts: because they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which researchers found particularly low levels in Chronically Fatigued patients. Omega-3s also help relieve depression symptoms, which commonly contribute to CFS.
- Dark Chocolate: Science suggests that the polyphenols in dark chocolate increase levels of the happiness-boosting brain chemical serotonin and thus reduce feelings of fatigue. Researchers at Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom provided 10 CFS patients with 45 g of chocolate each day for 2 months. Study subjects received either dark chocolate or white chocolate that had been dyed brown. Those eating the dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue. Read our article about eating more dark chocolate here.
- Tea: is better than coffee at fighting fatigue because it contains an important fatigue-fighting ingredient: l-theanine. When paired with caffeine, the amino acid found naturally in tea improves cognition more effectively than caffeine alone, according to a study published in Biological Psychology.
- Citrus Fruits and Peppers: are high in Vitamin C, which is more than a cold fighter—the antioxidant also helps reduce oxidative stress, the result of too many free radicals in the body, another contributor to CFS. In a small study of 44 adults published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, those who received 6 g of vitamin C every day for 2 weeks felt less fatigued. Study participants also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Yogurt: This is probably the only time we will recommend regular yogurt over Greek yogurt, because it contains more Calcium and Vitamin D- 30% of Calcium’s daily recommended value and 40% of Vitamin D’s daily recommended value.
- Milk: Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams per day. Beginning at age 51, women need 1,200 milligrams every day, and when men hit 71, they need to hit that mark, too. The pop star of calcium sources is undoubtedly milk. A single 8-ounce cup of milk, whether skim, low-fat, or whole, has 300 milligrams of calcium.
- Sardines: These tiny fish, often found in cans, have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Eating 3 ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than a cup of milk. They are great on salads!
- Salmon: Salmon is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of this pink fleshed fish contains more than 100% of your vitamin D. So eat up for your heart and your bones. Fish oil supplements have also been shown to reduce bone loss in women and may help prevent osteoporosis.
- Collard Greens: This southern cooking favorite is a leafy green that’s packed with calcium. One cup of cooked collards contains more than 25% of your daily calcium or about 200 milligrams.
- Cheese: This one should be enjoyed in moderation… 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.
- Spinach: This veggie is a great option if you don’t eat dairy products, because one cup of cooked spinach contains almost 25% of your daily calcium, plus fiber, iron, and vitamin A.
- Tuna: this fatty fish is a good source of vitamin D. Three ounces of canned tuna contains 154 IU, or about 39% of your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin.
- Tofu: Half a cup of calcium-enriched tofu contains over 400 milligrams of calcium. Soy milk is usually fortified with 300 milligrams of calcium per cup. Soy has other bone-building benefits, too. New research suggests plant-based chemicals called isoflavones strengthen bone. Isoflavones are ple
- Nuts:Peanuts and almonds contain potassium, which protects against the loss of calcium in urine. Nuts also contain protein and other nutrients that play a supportive role in building strong bones.