How well do you take care of your bones? Bone health is a crucial component of overall health because our bones allow us to move and provide us with support. They keep us safe from internal injuries, and they store minerals such as calcium and phosphorus too. It is important to maintain bone health because weak bones can lead to pain, an increased likelihood of fractures or breaks, and even the development of osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes bones to become too weak and brittle. It causes the body to lose too much bone, and it is something women are more likely to develop. The National Osteoporosis Foundation found that 80% of all people to have osteoporosis are women. While this statistic may seem overwhelming, it is important to note that we have the power to optimize bone health through proper nutrition and exercise! 

Hormones play a large role in the prevention of osteoporosis, so it is important to understand this vital connection. Maintaining healthy estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and pituitary hormones can offset the development of osteoporosis in women. These hormones tend to decrease with age, but a diet that supports the production of these hormones may help.

There are many nutrients to consider that promote bone health, but calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are the most important. Calcium will be stripped from your bones if your body is deprived, which weakens your bones, vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption, and magnesium acts as a regulatory nutrient. Other nutrients that may be helpful for bone health are phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

Here are 7 easy ways to incorporate these key nutrients into your diet:

  1. Have more fish – fatty fish such as salmon, contains most of these nutrients! An easy sheet pan meal with some veggies will help you meet these requirements.

  2. Go for dairy – dairy is the easiest way to consume calcium, so you may consider having foods such as yogurt or cheese as a snack throughout the day! If you are lactose-intolerant, vegan, or simply prefer to be dairy-free you can incorporate almonds or other plant-based calcium-rich foods! 

  3. Egg it up – having eggs for breakfast can ensure you’re getting in vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin B12 first thing in the morning! You can also have hard-boiled eggs on hand for a snack during the day as well. 

  4. Get your whole grains in – keeping whole-grain bread or rice on hand can help you meet daily requirements magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and more! You can prepare a simple toast with nut butter for a filling snack or add a side of rice to your dinner. 

  5. Try dark leafy greens and veggies – having a serving of greens every day, or even a few times a week, can have lasting benefits. It provides you with calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and more. Prepare some veggies ahead of time and store them in the fridge for convenience! 

  6. Grab the poultry – if you eat meat, poultry is a great lean protein source that is packed with these bone health-promoting nutrients. It is easy to prepare and so versatile! Serve it as the main course, add it into a salad, or put it in a soup! The options are really limitless. 

  7. Add fortified foods – sometimes you just want a bowl of cereal or a glass of juice, and that’s okay because many of them are fortified with nutrients that support bone health! 

Another way to support your bones beyond diet is by incorporating weight-bearing and resistant training exercises. Performing weight-bearing and resistance training exercises can help increase bone formation during bone growth and protect bone health in older adults, including those with low bone density.

What are your go-to foods to support your bones? Comment below.