A healthy set of bones provides structure to the body and also protects the internal organs and anchors the muscles. At the same time, strong bones are required for good posture, balance and strength.
To enjoy strong bones, certain key nutrients are required, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins, beta-carotene, and protein. There are many healthy foods that promote healthy and strong bones and reduce the chance of achy joints, inflammation, arthritis and other bone-related health problems.
When you eat the right type of foods, you can enjoy better bone mass and density at any age and strong bones throughout your lifetime.
Here are the top 10 superfoods for strong bones.
1. MilkCalcium is the most essential element for strong bones, and the best source of calcium is undoubtedly milk. Milk also contains potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamins D and B12. All these nutrients are important for healthy bones.
Adults should drink two glasses of milk daily. Children and teenagers can benefit from drinking more milk. Depending upon your preference, you can choose skim, low-fat or whole milk. Those who do not like the taste of milk can blend it into a milkshake, smoothie or sauce.
Cheese is loaded with a good amount of calcium, along with vitamins D, A, B12, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus and protein. All these nutrients are needed for strong bones. Also, cheese is an excellent source of calcium for people who are lactose intolerant.
Just a small amount of cheese eaten regularly will support your bone health. You can have cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, goat, Parmesan and cottage cheese.
Yogurt contains a good amount of calcium, vitamins D, A and B12, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus and protein.
So, include at least a cup of yogurt in your daily diet. If you are not a fan of milk, here’s another interesting reason why yogurt is good for you.
Milk tends to acidify the body’s pH, which in turn, causes the body to release calcium from the bones to neutralize the acid. Yogurt, on the other hand, being a fermented dairy product, works as an acid neutralizer and does not have the calcium leaching effect.
Those who are health conscious can choose fat-free plain yogurt daily. Greek yogurt, however, may not be too healthy for your bones because Greek yogurt varieties, while high in protein, generally do not contain adequate levels of vitamin D and often have less calcium than traditional yogurts.
Tofu is a type of soy food that contains a high amount of calcium and plant-based chemicals called isoflavones, which are important to promote healthy and strong bones. Tofu is a popular option for people who are lactose intolerant and cannot eat many types of dairy products.
One-half cup of tofu can fulfill about 20 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium. Whether you eat it plain or cooked, tofu is a healthy choice for your bones. Prefer to have organic and fermented tofu or other soy products.
5. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds contain various nutrients for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins K and D.
You must daily consume at least one-fourth cup of these crunchy seeds, in roasted or dried form. You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on cooked vegetables, toss them into your favorite salad, and add them to stir-fry vegetables.
If you do not like the nutty taste of the seeds, you can try sesame butter. Along with sesame seeds, you must also include flaxseeds in your diet.
6. Collard Greens
This leafy green vegetable contains a good amount of calcium, along with magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K. All these nutrients are essential to bone health.
At the same time, the antioxidant and antibacterial properties present in collard greens provide a variety of other health benefits.
One cup of cooked collard greens contains more than one-fourth of your daily calcium requirement. The best way to consume collard greens is lightly steamed with fresh garlic and onions. You can also add this leafy green vegetable to salad and soup.
Spinach is another easily available vegetable that is high in calcium content. Plus, its vitamin K content helps retain calcium in the bone matrix. Along with calcium, spinach also contains a good amount of fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A and C.
This dark green leafy vegetable can be grilled, boiled or eaten raw. It makes a good addition to salads, sandwiches, appetizers and cooked dishes like quiche and lasagna. Along with spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower will help you enjoy better bone health.
8. White Beans
White beans are another superfood for healthy bones. This legume contains a good amount of calcium, protein, fiber and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Depending on the type of white beans, one cup of cooked beans can provide a good amount of calcium to promote healthy strong bones.
You can include white beans in soups, salads, stews, bean spreads and dips, casseroles and baked vegetables. Along with white beans, you can nourish your bones by eating pinto beans, navy beans and black beans.
Salmon is a type of fatty fish that contains a wide range of bone-boosting nutrients including calcium, protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids help increase the absorption of calcium in the body.
Regular consumption of salmon helps improve bone density and bone accumulation. At the same time, salmon is good for heart health.
Salmon can be grilled, poached or baked and you can easily incorporate it into a wide variety of healthy dishes.
Another excellent source of calcium and vitamin D is sardines. In fact, sardines contain as much calcium per serving as milk and dairy products. Sardines also contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and vitamin B12.
As these little fish are perishable in nature, the most common way to enjoy sardines is from a can. The canned sardines can be added to pizza, salads or any mashed dish. In many places, sardines are also available in fresh form and they can be easily added to salads, pastas and sauces.
In addition to eating these superfoods for strong bones, it is essential to consume less salt (it may deplete calcium in the body), regularly expose your body to sunshine to give it the required dose of vitamin D and to indulge in regular weight-bearing exercises to enjoy healthy bones and strong muscles.
For more information on how to maintain strong bones, view this useful video explaining the importance of maintaining a healthy balance of calcium and magnesium in the body to promote bone health.