Four Ways to Love Your Bones and Keep Your Bones Healthy through Food

When you think about supporting your health, your bone health may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  Especially when it comes to younger people, taking steps to support healthy bones is often way off the radar. After all, how many younger people do you see struggling with a broken hip or a compressed spine?

While it is true that bone issues appear more frequently in older people, taking care of your bones when you are younger to make sure your bone mineral density is as strong as it can be before menopause sets in, is one of the best things you can do to prevent osteoporosis, or a condition when bones become extremely weak, brittle, and likely to fracture.

Here are five things you can do in your younger years to support your bone health for your lifetime.

  1. If you are going dairy-free, choose your substitutions wisely

Dairy foods are notorious for being bone-building for many reasons, including their calcium, vitamin D, and protein content. Since many people are living dairy-free lifestyles, they run the risk of missing out on important nutrients if they don’t substitute appropriately.

If you are skipping dairy in your diet, here are some foods that you could enjoy and still help meet your calcium needs:

  • Fortified orange juice
  • Sardines and anchovies with bones
  • Almond milk fortified with calcium
  • Chia seeds
  • White beans
  • Almonds
  • Collard greens
  • Figs
  1. Sit out in the sun for at least 10 minutes a day

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is important for supporting calcium’s ability to be absorbed by the bone. While you can consume this vitamin via food or supplements, the simplest way to get it is to sit out in the sun with your skin exposed for at least 10 minutes. Your skin has the ability to convert vitamin D from the sun and is a hassle-free way to give your body a bone-building boost. Plus, the extra time outdoors may give you some stress relief. Win-win!

  1. Limit sodas, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages.

While very few foods are off-limits when it comes to a bone-building diet, there are three items that may work against your bone-supporting efforts: sodas, caffeinated drinks, and alcoholic beverages. While none of these items need to be cut from your diet cold-turkey, they should not be consumed in excess either. Save these items for a special occasion, and stick with water or milk instead.

  1. Eat the right balance of foods

Bone-building nutrients go beyond calcium. Eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods will supply your body with not only calcium, but also other less-known bone-supporting nutrients like boron, vitamin C, and vitamin K2. Put down the potato chips and grab yourself a colorful salad or kiwi fruit instead. Your bones will thank you!

Enjoy our Four Bone-Building Recipes to Get You Through The Day

What you eat can play a significant role in your bone health. Eating a variety of foods that contain key bone-supporting nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium is one of the best things you can do to help keep your bones strong. While coming up with meal ideas that are bone-friendly and also delicious may sound daunting, it can be quite simple with a little know-how.

To give you some inspiration, here are four recipes for you to enjoy that will help keep your bone health in-check while also keeping you satisfied and nourished throughout the day.

Serves 4

Chia pudding is a perfect solution for busy people, because who isn’t strapped for time these days? This make-ahead breakfast is chock-full of bone-building calcium to help support strong bones. The fresh strawberries give this breakfast a boost of vitamin C, another bone-building nutrient that also makes this dish delicious and pleasing. Make this breakfast the night before a busy day – you will be glad you did.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 2% milkfat grass-fed milk
  • ½ cup 2% milkfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons pasteurized honey

Serves 4

Calcium is often the shining star nutrient when it comes to bone health, but there are other nutrients that need to be consumed for bone support too. Two of these nutrients, magnesium and potassium, are naturally found in potatoes. A stuffed baked potato is an enjoyable lunch and can be topped with a slew of items. Making a fajita-like stuffed potato is a fun twist on a classic.

Ingredients

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, pierced with fork and washed well
  • 1/4 cup tomato-based salsa
  • 1/4 cup plain 2% milkfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place pierced potatoes on baking sheet and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Cut potatoes in half; scoop out insides and transfer them to a medium bowl. Combine scooped potato with salsa, yogurt, cheese. Re-stuff potatoes with combined filling and bake for additional 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook additional 3 minutes. Top each potato with vegetables.

Serves 4

Salmon is one of the few food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that is key for bone health. Enjoy this simple salmon dinner with some steamed broccoli and multi-colored quinoa for a no-fuss and bone strengthening meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound wild salmon filets, cut into four pieces
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Boil and then simmer for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the pineapple juice to the soy sauce mixture and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Place salmon filets on cookie sheet and top with ½ of the sauce.
  5. Bake salmon for 10-12 minutes. Remove pan from oven and top salmon with remaining sauce. Broil for 4 minutes.
  6. Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Dairy foods aren’t the only things you can eat to get calcium into your life. Figs not only contain calcium, but they are also loaded with other skeleton-saving nutrients like magnesium. Whether fresh or dried, figs are a great snack to include into your day. Topping figs with flavorful ingredients like basil makes for an exciting nosh that will make you look forward to snacktime.

Ingredients:

  • 8 figs, dried or fresh, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4 basil leaves, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, pasteurized
  • 1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pasteurized honey

Instructions:

  1. Place figs on plate, cut side up. Stack basil leaf, ½ teaspoon ricotta cheese, and pistachios. Drizzle with honey.

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