The Right Diet for Healthy Bones
Eating healthy can be the source of a wide range of health benefits, the least of which being stronger bones. By balancing your diet and consuming the right amount of each food group, you can help build and support your skeletal system, reducing your chance of injury and keeping your body in top shape.
If you’re not sure what you need to eat to encourage bone health, here’s a quick guide for you.
Calcium is the mineral our bodies need to help build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Since calcium is not a mineral naturally produced by the body, we need to acquire it through the food we eat. Over time, if our bodies don’t get enough of it, calcium is taken from our bones where it is stored, weakening them and leaving us susceptible to injury.
The amount of calcium your body needs will vary with age and gender, but the Food and Nutrition Board has set the guidelines in the table below as a good reference when considering how much calcium to consume.
Some good foods to consider that are high in calcium are: milk, yogurt, cheese, other dairy products, kale, broccoli, cabbage, sardines, salmon, tofu, breads, pastas, grains, cereals and juices.
If you aren’t including any of those in your current diet, you may want to examine how much calcium you’re eating and consider taking a supplement if necessary.
Vitamin D allows our bodies to absorb and use calcium, which is another very important aspect of bone health. Without vitamin D, the calcium we consume cannot be used properly and will not be effective.
Although our bodies make vitamin D naturally when our skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is not very commonly found in foods, and is mostly prevalent in milk. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 1,000 International Units, and one glass on milk only provides about 100 IU.
Since food is not a reliable source, Vitamin D supplements might be the best way to assure that your body gets enough to keep bones strong.
Although Vitamin D and Calcium are both important for bone health, they can still cause problems if consumed in extreme amounts. Check out the tables below, also provided by the Food and Nutrition Board, for safe limits of how much is too much.
Keeping a balanced diet and following these guidelines is the best way to ensure strong bones and keep your body healthy, but none of that is possible without the right knowledge and awareness. Next time you go to the grocery store, keep these tips in mind as you shop, but don’t stop there. Keep your friends and family informed with your new knowledge, too!