Our bones remain strong into our early adulthood. As we hit our 30s, they slowly begin to thin out. In women, this process accelerates after menopause, but there are ways to put on the brakes. One of the best lines of defense is your diet. Eating the right foods can give you the maximum bone strength and boost your bone density at any age. Calcium does more than strengthen your bones, it also plays a part in regulating your blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart. If your body doesn’t get enough calcium, it will compensate by taking calcium from your bones, leaving them brittle and weak. Calcium is the cornerstone of strong bones and milk is a great source of calcium. An 8oz glass of milk, whether skim, low-fat, or whole, has 300 milligrams of calcium. Almond milk is one of the most nutritionally valuable options available today and a great source of calcium.
If you’re not a milk drinker…a cup of yogurt has as much calcium as an 8 oz. cup of milk. Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can probably eat yogurt and hard cheeses without any problem. Or try lactose-free dairy products. Removing lactose from milk and dairy foods does not affect the calcium content.
You might be surprised to learn that many vegetables are full of calcium also. Reach for dark leafy greens such as Bok Choy, Spinach and Kale. You can also consider eating fortified foods. Foods that do not naturally contain calcium but have been enhanced with varying amounts of the essential mineral. Breakfast foods are a great start… fortified orange juice has about the same calcium as milk, and fortified cereals deliver up to 1,000 milligrams per cup. Check the nutritional label for the exact amount.
Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which assists in calcium absorption. They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may also help bones. Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce bone loss in women and may help prevent osteoporosis.
Nuts and seeds can bolster bone health in several ways. Walnuts and flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Peanuts and almonds contain potassium, which protects against the loss of calcium in urine. Nuts also contain protein and other nutrients that play a supportive role in building strong bones.