We’ve all heard, “Drink your milk to build strong bones” – but what else can we do to improve bone health? Your bone mass is developed early on & you actually meet your peak around age 18… crazy! Regular exercise with weight-bearing movements (ex. walking, jogging, stair climbing, etc.) & resistance training (aka lifting weights) can strengthen bones. However, nutrition is essential in preventing bone disease and osteoporosis too! Wondering if you get enough bone-strengthening foods in your diet? These nutrients & foods play a key role in building bone strength & keeping bones strong – here are some foods to focus on.
Most people associate calcium with dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, which are rich sources. But, don’t forget your dark green vegetables and calcium-fortified soymilk, tofu, cereals, orange juice, and bread. Aim to consume at least 3 servings of calcium-rich foods each day!
Most Americans don’t get enough of this nutrient because of the lack of natural sunlight! Sun exposure triggers vitamin D productions, so if you live around NWI, there is a good chance you have a deficit. How can you consume more? Try fatty fish like salmon and tuna and fortified vitamin D products like milk, orange juice, and cereal. Egg yolks are also natural sources of this vitamin.
Best food sources include green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli, and peas and green beans.
Natural food sources of this mineral include almonds, spinach, black beans, soybeans, peanut butter, avocado, whole wheat bread, and kidney beans.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
It’s best to consume a variety of these bone-strengthening foods each day. Aim to get your nutrients from foods first, and supplements second. Here is a sample menu to meet these goals!
- Breakfast – black bean and spinach omelet with reduced-fat cheddar cheese & a glass of skim milk
- Lunch – grilled salmon or grilled tuna on top of dark leafy greens with a side of whole wheat toast topped with smashed avocado
- Dinner – sautéed tofu stir fry with broccoli and green beans & a glass of skim milk
- Snacks – apple with peanut butter; a handful of almonds with reduced-fat string cheese