As we reach middle age and grow older, bones begin to thin out and become fragile. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to counteract this degenerative process. Proper diet, including a variety of healthy foods and supplements, can boost bone mass and prevent many other conditions associated with age. Here are some of the best foods for strong bones:
• Nuts and seeds. Our skeletons are largely composed of calcium, but other minerals are essential for strong bones too. Research links low magnesium levels to fragile bones and calcium loss. All seeds are good magnesium sources, and an ounce of most varieties of nuts contains 10-20% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
• Leafy greens. Dark green vegetables are packed with bone-building nutrients, most notably calcium, magnesium and vitamin K. Research shows that hip fractures increase with too little vitamin K intake, since it’s essential to form bone proteins and cut calcium loss.
• Dairy. Fortified milk is a great source of vitamin D (opt for nonfat or 1% milk as they contain less saturated fat and cholesterol), an element which slows the loss of bone mass. Cheese, yogurt and ice cream also contain vitamin D in lesser amounts.
Remember, your body is able to absorb more nutrients from food than from supplements, so a diet rich in the above foods is always preferable to a less healthy, supplemented diet. For related health information from our Florida orthopaedic specialists, please visit the Patient Education section of our website.