The adult body is composed of roughly 206 bones. That’s a lot of bones, and it would certainly take you a while to count them all.
Besides supporting and protecting our body and allowing us to move, our skeleton has other primary functions such as producing blood cells, store minerals and regulate the endocrine system.
Therefore, it is crucial to keep them in good shape, especially if you consider that bone injury always implies a long and painful recovery time. If you have ever broken a bone, you know well what we are talking about.
Why it is vital to have strong, healthy bones?
As we get older, we naturally lose bone mass and density. It is just another one of the aging dramas. Some things are genuinely unavoidable. But if we can keep healthy and strong bones throughout our entire lives, we can drastically reduce the impact of this mass and density loss and prevent the onset of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
If you have weak bones by the time you reach your thirties (when most people reach their peak bone mass), you are probably in for some trouble.
Osteoporosis is a severe medical condition that needs to be addressed as such. Having extremely fragile bones at an advanced age means that any minor fall, bending over, or even a sneeze, may result in a broken bone.
The statistics are scary: 20% of the older people who break a hip die within one year – from further complications or even during surgery. Those who recover have their mobility extremely reduced and require long-term nursing care and physiotherapy. It is worth mentioning that women who went through early menopause have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis – if that is your case, talk to your doctor and ask for advice.
Fortunately, there are a few lifestyle habits that can help you keep osteoporosis away. If you maintain a regular workout routine (with specific strength training and weight-bearing exercises), you will surely have great bones when you retire. A healthy diet also plays a huge role, so here are some foods that are good for bone health
As you have heard a thousand times before, calcium is the most important nutrient to build healthy bones and keep them strong. If your diet doesn’t have enough of it, your body will start taking it from your bones. The result? Bone weakness.
When it comes to providing calcium, no other food can compete with milk (and dairy foods in general). An absolute superfood for the bones. One cup of milk will provide you about one-third of the recommended daily calcium intake.
The health impact of milk has recently been discussed heavily, with experts arguing that its consumption by adult humans is far from being healthy. But the truth is that, although there are many lactose-intolerant people, the cultural trend of drinking milk daily remains practically unchanged.
2. Collard greens and spinach
These leafy, green vegetables are tasty, healthy, and can promote bone growth and fortification by providing calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. If you think that you don’t like these foods, try a few different recipes. They can easily sneak into several dishes and make them more colorful and delicious. Allow yourself to be creative in the kitchen.
3. Yogurt and cheese
Yogurt is not only rich in calcium, but it also offers a significant amount of vitamin D – some yogurts provide 20% of the daily recommended intake of this vitamin. This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium, and some scientific studies indicate that there’s a relation between low vitamin D levels and lower bone density.
Cheese contains similarly high levels of calcium and vitamin D and could be incorporated in your diet in many different ways. There are also many kinds of cheese, so you’ll undoubtedly find one that suits your taste.
Tuna and sardines: these can be labeled as “unexpected foods that are good for your bone health.” Both tuna and sardines are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. If you ate canned tuna every day during your college years (you probably did, didn’t you?), at least you are somewhat protected against osteoporosis. Having zero kitchen skills has some advantages.
Salmon: we already described milk as a superfood for the bones. Salmon is a superfood. Period. As simple as that. Why do you ask? Well, because salmon contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties and are known to improve your overall health on many different levels.
They can improve risk factors for heart disease, promote brain health, improve eye health, fight depression, improve sleep, and protect us against bone loss as we get older.
5. Green beans
Did you know that there are over 130 varieties of green beans? It’s true, and they all have one thing in common: they’re amazing food for healthy bones.
That’s because of all the calcium and vitamin K they can provide – one cup of green beans contains about 20% of the daily recommended intake of calcium.
According to a couple of studies, the two most common forms of vitamin K2 may help people maintain bone density and avoid bone-related diseases.
When we talk about healthy foods, fruit and vegetables are the first two things that pop in our minds. It’s inevitable. But when it comes to the health of your bones, there is one fruit that must be mentioned above all: oranges.
As you know, oranges are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin is needed to produce a protein called collagen – one of the main building blocks of skin, muscle, tendons, and… bones. For this reason, we can say that oranges are bone-building food.
Dried fruits may also promote bone health. A study conducted by the Florida State University within a group of postmenopausal women showed that after a year, the group that had dried fruits included in their diet increased bone mineral density.