Bones hold us up, keep our bodies moving and, naturally, our diet is crucial for their health and structure! So, what's the most important food for bone health? Were you thinking milk? I'm here to tell you that our bone health goes far beyond milk. Let's look at the key nutrients and foods we need to keep our bones strong and healthy.
Calcium has often been touted as the most important nutrient for creating and preserving healthy bones. The dairy counsel launched a multi-million dollar campaign years ago to bring awareness to calcium levels in milk and highlight the importance of milk for bone health. Remember all the milk moustache ads? They were fun, sure, but most people don’t realize that there are other sources high in calcium found outside of milk, including numerous greens.
Calcium levels are measured through bone density tests, and are usually at their highest between the ages of 25 and 35, decreasing after that.
Phosphorus is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and works with calcium to build strong teeth and bones. It helps filter out waste in the kidneys and plays a role in energy storage and usage within the body. Vitamin D and magnesium are also enhanced by the presence of phosphorus. Bottom line: it’s pretty important stuff!
About half the magnesium in the body is found in the bones. Research has recently found that magnesium intake above the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) may play a role in suppressing bone turnover and prevent age-related osteoporosis. Check the chart below to see great ways to include higher magnesium foods in your diet and Blasts!
Another great marketing campaign? When I say potassium, you say.... Banana! While bananas are high in potassium, you can still get this nutrient from a variety of other sources. Potassium is crucial for bone health and provides a buffer against acid-forming compounds that can eat away at bones. Potassium salts in the body are used to create an alkalizing buffer to protect and strengthen bones.
Vitamin K is crucial to activate certain proteins that bind with calcium and makes it available to the body. Without Vitamin K, calcium would not be able to attach to the bone and be a part of the structure that makes them so strong. This is important for keeping calcium in bones and out of the arteries.
Remember, its not just about the nutrients. There are many other factors that go into healthy bones; increasing weight-bearing exercise, reducing sodium intake, not smoking, eating proteins only moderately and reducing sun exposure are all key for healthy bones.