How many times have you heard that you must take calcium for healthy bones? But, in reality, it’s the food you eat that has the greatest impact. There are certain foods that supply the body with bone-building nutrients and, conversely, there are other foods that promote the breakdown of bone and osteoporosis. The best foods for building bone health are whole plant foods. In fact, studies have shown that individuals with the highest consumption of fruit and vegetables have the strongest bones. I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to hear that. I always thought it was dairy products that were the best for bone health! Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst foods.
Greens, seeds, and beans are incredible calcium sources! Did you know that a diet full of natural plant foods provides the calcium required to build strong bones? Green vegetables in particular are fantastic calcium sources. For instance, a four-ounce serving of steamed kale has just as much calcium as one cup of milk! Foods like broccoli, bok choy, sesame seeds, and garbanzo beans are also amazing sources of calcium. And did you know the body absorbs about 50% of the calcium in green vegetables, compared to only 32% of the calcium in milk?
Green vegetables supply vitamin K and studies have shown that higher vitamin K1 intake is associated with bone health. Vitamin K2, however, is low in plant foods and in supplementation trials using vitamin K2, fracture risk was greatly reduced. So, it is important to get both K1 from green vegetables and K2 from a supplement. Of course, when considering taking any supplementation, please consult a doctor.
Nuts and seeds are rich in magnesium which is an essential mineral used for the formation of bone tissue. CLICK HERE to learn more about the health giving benefits of nuts and seeds.
These are the worst foods for bone health because they promote calcium loss!
Salt promotes the excretion of calcium in the urine. What! Give up salt? I know it’s hard especially if you have been used to and love salty foods. CLICK HERE for some flavoring ideas for food that will help you reduce your salt intake.
Caffeine is also a villain that contributes to urinary calcium loss and high caffeine intake is associated with increased bone loss and osteoporotic fractures. So, maybe you consider cutting down your coffee consumption gradually. I used to be a five cup a day girl, but now I may have a small cup every couple of days. It also helps to find a good coffee substitute. I just love Dandy Blend! CLICK HERE to check it out. It is available at many health food stores and at Amazon as well.
Soda is the big bad! And this includes both diet and decaffeinated soda. It’s associated with bone loss because soda consumption increases something called the parathyroid hormone (PTH) in your blood, which increases blood calcium concentrations by stimulating bone breakdown. The increased blood calcium is then excreted in the urine. My advice is to ditch the soda. Your bones will thank you for it!
One last bone building tip that is not related to food: Your bone strength is directly related to your muscle strength. The stronger your muscles are the better for your bones. Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, is crucial to maintain and build strong bones. I highly recommend the Osteoporosis Protection for Life DVD by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, CLICK HERE to check it out. To your good health!