What to Eat to Keep Your Bones Strong and Healthy
According to the National Institutes of Health, most of us reach our peak bone mass by age 30. After that, we begin losing bone mass faster than we can rebuild it.
It is important to develop as much bone mass as you can before age 30. The more you have, the slower you are to likely lose bone mass and therefore bone strength. The older you are, the more vulnerable you are to bone problems.
Vitamins and minerals from your diet are needed to help your body absorb key nutrients to build strong bones. Dr. Thomas Brodrick, MD shares his recommendations on what vitamins and minerals to eat to keep your bones strong and healthy.
Eat a healthy diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is a mineral that people need to build and maintain strong bones, especially when you have osteoporosis. Your body cannot make calcium so it’s important to get it through the food you eat or from supplements. Adequate amounts of calcium in your diet can help reduce bone loss by 30 to 50 percent.
Good sources of calcium are calcium-rich foods like dairy products, almonds, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale, salmon and sardines, and soy products.
Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. Without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, increasing your chances for developing osteoporosis.
Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, fortified milk, oily fish such as tuna and sardines, and of course sunshine.
Other vitamins that are important to bone health
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important to building strong, healthy bones. Both osteoblasts (bone building cells) and osteoclasts (bone breaking down cells) are influenced by vitamin A.
Good sources of vitamin A are cantaloupe, carrots, cheese pizza, eggs, fatty fish, fat-free milk, kales, liver, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and spinach
Vitamin B12 appears to have an effect on bone building cells. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B12 are linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis in both men and women.
People who have had a gastric bypass or have gastrointestinal disorders that cause poor absorption of fat lose the ability to absorb B12. Elderly people in their 80s and 90s may develop changes in the linings of the stomach that prevents them from absorbing iron and B12. In these cases where absorption is an issue, doctors may give injections of B12, bypassing the digestive tract, so patients get the benefits of the vitamin.
Good sources of vitamin B12 are Dairy products, eggs, fish, fortified breakfast cereal, meat, milk, poultry, and shellfish
Vitamin C is important for healthy bones. Studies have associated increased vitamin C levels with greater bone density.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and the most common reason for low levels is poor intake. Some people with poor absorption will have lower levels of vitamin C. The elderly who are in nursing homes and smokers tend to have lower levels of vitamin C.
Good sources of vitamin C are broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, kale, lemons, oranges, papaya, and strawberries
Magnesium and calcium work together to maintain strong bones. Magnesium contributes to increased bone density and helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets, especially if they eat large amounts of processed foods.
Good sources of magnesium are whole-grain breads, dark green vegetables, and nuts.
Learn more about what vitamins and minerals you’re deficient in.
Because of soil depletion, crops grown today are not as nutrient dense as they once were. Dr. Brodrick recommends taking supplements for calcium and magnesium.
“One tablet of calcium citrate and one tablet of magnesium should be taken on a daily basis,” Dr. Brodrick instructs. “Avoid calcium carbonate as low stomach acid in older people may not separate the calcium from the carbonate.”
He also recommends taking vitamin D3 2,000 units on a daily basis. These supplements are inexpensive and should be taken by all middle-aged and, especially, older people.
Florida Orthopaedic Associates offers an Osteoporosis Clinic to help diagnosis, prevent and treat osteoporosis. We’ll review your diet and lifestyle habits, develop an exercise plan and recommend medication or supplement therapy that will help get your bones as strong as they can possibly be. Request an appointment through our online form or call the office to schedule an appointment today.