How to Strengthen Bones with Nutrition

Are osteoporosis and other bone diseases preventable?

The short answer — yes!

But, it can be challenging. The right kind of diet and regular bone-strengthening exercises can boost your bone health. 

The Best Bone Building Exercises

  • Playing Tennis
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Climbing Stairs
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
Now let's talk about diet. What nutrients does your body need to keep your bones strong and healthy? 

Calcium is the obvious one; you’ve probably heard since you were a child that milk strengthens your bones. 

Until age 50, adults need about 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. When women turn 51, experts recommend boosting levels to 1,200 mg. And after age 70, men and women alike should be consuming at least 1,200 mg.

But did you know Vitamin D is also an essential nutrient for bone health? Without enough Vitamin D in your system, your body won’t be able to absorb and reap the benefits of the calcium-heavy food you eat. 

Experts suggest everyone under 70-years-old consumes 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D every day. But once you turn 70, you should increase your consumption to 800 IU.

So, what’s the optimal bone-strengthening diet?

Nutrition To Boost Bone Health

What nutrients are good for your bones? Calcium and Vitamin D Low calcium intake can decrease bone mass and increase fracture risk. And without Vitamin D, your body can't use the calcium you consume.

Calcium Builds Healthy Bones

In 2010, approximately 42% of Americans weren't getting enough calcium in their diets(National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey).

Fortunately, a balanced and varied diet should be able to supply you with enough calcium to keep your bones up to par.

Calcium-Rich Foods

  • Cheese, milk, yogurt, & other dairies
  • Leafy green vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, okra, turnip greens, & kale)
  • Soy products (like tofu)
  • Bread with fortified flour
  • Fish with edible bones (like sardines & pilchards)
  • Fortified oatmeal
  • Canned salmon
  • Dried fruit
  • Orange juice fortified with calcium
  • Almonds

Vitamin D Helps Absorb Calcium

Vitamin D is a little more challenging to manage. In fact, Vitamin D insufficiency impacts nearly 50% of the world population (National Institutes of Health).

Most of our Vitamin D comes from sunlight directly hitting our skin. But in the fall and winter, most people just can't get enough. To fix this, you can take daily Vitamin D supplements or incorporate some Vitamin D-heavy food into your diet.

Vitamin D-Rich Foods

  • Oily saltwater fish (like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, whitefish, & tuna)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods (like cereals, milk, & fat spreads)
  • Liver
  • Mushrooms

Are There Foods That Harm Your Bones? Yes!

Avoid consuming too many high-sodium foods, sugary snacks & drinks, alcohol, caffeine, legumes, raw spinach, swiss chard, red meats, and inflammatory foods.

Infographic showing describing and showing the different foods you should eat and avoid for optimal bone health.

Have more questions about nutrition for good bone health? Or need a bone health assessment? Get in touch with the team at Central Carolina Orthopaedic Associates

Are you at risk of osteoporosis? Learn about the risk factors.

Central Carolina Orthopaedic Associates is dedicated to spreading awareness of osteoporosis. Check it out!

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