Nutrition and Bone Health: What you eat and drink matters

Nutrition and Bone Health: What you eat and drink matters

Most of us have been told from an early age to “drink milk for strong bones.” Turns out, that’s actually true… at least in part. Calcium plays an important role in supporting bone health, and most Americans get the majority of their calcium from dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt.
While it’s important to be sure you include calcium in your diet from dairy products – or from vegetables like kale or broccoli – there are a number of other key nutrients that help keep your bones healthy:
● Vitamin D
● Phosphorus
● Magnesium
● Boron
● Vitamin C
● Copper
● Protein
● Zinc
As with most vitamins and minerals, these are best consumed as part of a balanced diet rather than through supplements, if possible. Choosing foods that include these nutrients can help lower your risk of developing osteoporosis and support overall bone health. Here are a few common foods – and drinks – you can add to your routine to boost your bone health:
Fortified 100% Orange Juice
You probably already know that 100% orange juice is packed with Vitamin C, but it also naturally contains potassium to support bone mineral density and magnesium, which plays a role in bone health. You can also buy 100% orange juice that’s fortified with calcium and Vitamin D, for extra support.
Cranberries
Cranberries are a natural source of Vitamin C, and studies also show that the natural polyphenols (nutrients that we get from plant-based foods) in berries play in bone health. There’s even a positive link between high cranberry intake and higher bone mass.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Drizzling olive oil on a dish can do more than just add flavor. A 2012 study found that men who followed the Mediterranean diet that included virgin olive oil showed greater bone formation than men who ate a low-fat diet without olive oil. Another study indicates significant increases in bone mineral density in people who included more olive oil in their diet.
Milk
A cool glass of milk is more than just the ideal companion for a stack of cookies. It’s also a natural source of calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus. Dairy products also reduce your risk of osteoporosis and lower your rate of bone loss. Plus, milk contains 8 grams of protein per serving as well as the natural sugar lactose your body needs to absorb calcium.
Avocado
Boron is one of those nutrients you hardly ever hear mentioned, yet it is critical to helping your body absorb the magnesium and enhance the vitamin D your body needs. And avocado is one of the richest sources of boron you can find on the produce aisle. Just a half-cup of raw and cubed avocado contains more than 1 milligram of boron, so adding an avocado to your toast, salad, or eggs can also support your bone health.
Tomatoes
The next time you order a pizza, ask for extra sauce. The antioxidant found in foods that are naturally red and pink—such as tomatoes, watermelon, and guava— may decrease bone loss, particularly in the spine.
Shiitake Mushrooms
All mushrooms contain some Vitamin D, but shiitake mushrooms in particular also contain copper—another key nutrient for bone health. Lower serum copper levels have been linked to decreased bone mineral density.
Prunes
Prunes, also known as dried plums, are famous for their gut health benefits, but they also contain natural phenolic compounds that may play a positive role in bone health. Studies that included women found that prunes may enhance bone formation and stop bone breakdown. Another study indicated that men who ate prunes every day for 12 months increased their bone mineral density.
Foods to Limit
Just as some foods have been shown to improve bone health, there are others that can negatively impact your bone health. Some foods decrease calcium absorption or cause the body to lose calcium, including foods high in sodium, spinach and other vegetables high in oxalates, certain teas, colas, and excessive alcohol.
If your interest in bone health goes beyond nutrition, you may want to visit an orthopaedist. Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication, and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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