Your bones are constantly changing. Old bone is broken down and replaced by new bone until around age 30, when bone mass is at its peak. After that, according to the Mayo Clinic, while bone replacement continues, new bone doesn't keep up and you begin to lose bone mass. But you can help keep low bone mass and brittle bones (osteoporosis) at bay by starting a lifestyle that includes a healthy bone diet, exercise, and limited drinking and smoking.
For a healthy bone diet, calcium is essential. But it's not just calcium—most commonly associated with dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt—that is needed. Calcium absorption is aided by Vitamin D and magnesium. While those three nutrients are the important trifecta, your bones also need phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin A. Luckily, eating a balanced diet will include these nutrients, and you'll soon be on your way to better bone health.
Sources: Collards, turnip greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, natto, soybeass, carrot juice, canned pumpkin, okra, blueberries, grapes, and carrots.
Benefits: Vitamin K helps boost bone density and reduces fracture risk.
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Sources: Peppers, citrus, kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and papaya.
Benefits: It boosts the absorption of iron and is needed for formation of collagen, an important component of bone tissue.
Sources: Soybeans, fish, meat, milk, eggs, legumes, and whole grains.
Benefits: Phosphorus neutralizes acidic foods that could be harmful to bones.
Sources: Fatty fish like swordfish, salmon or sardines, and egg yolks.
Benefits: Without it, your intestine can't absorb the calcium you consume in food. It is an essential partner to calcium.
Sources: Dairy, fortified juices and nut milks, and dark green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli).
Benefits: If you don't ingest enough calcium (through food or supplements), your body will take it from your bones, causing them to become brittle.
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Sources: Sweet potato, beef liver, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, fortified foods, and eggs.
Benefits: It is essential for cells that build bone and also influences cells that break down bone.
Sources: Green vegetables (collards, okra, bok choy), seeds (poppy, sesame, chia), nuts, legumes, whole grains, and avocado.
Benefits: Magnesium is needed to properly regulate calcium and vitamin D.
Sources: Fruits, vegetables, scallops, beans, whole grains, and squash.
Benefits: It can neutralize acids that are produced by the body's metabolic processes.