Our bones need to built up when we are children and remain strong throughout young adulthood. As we hit our 30s, they slowly begin to thin out. In women, this process accelerates after menopause, but there are ways to put on the brakes. One of the best lines of defense is your diet – eating the right foods can give you the maximum bone strength and boost your bone density at any age.
The two key nutrients when it comes to healthy bones are: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports your bones and teeth structure, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth.
- 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.