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What are some good bone-building foods?

Apr 30, 2013

Marissa Tafuri
FT East Greenwich

"You can build strong bones through exercise.  But you can also make a change in the strength of your bones through what you eat.  Here are some different foods that will make a big difference in your quest for stronger bones!

"Seeds are filled with trace minerals such as magnesium, copper, boron, zinc and manganese. Magnesium may play as important a role as calcium binding the bones together to create strong, dense bone. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and most nuts, are also good sources of trace minerals.

"Salmon is another great food to eat when building strong bones. Salmons is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and help to prevent bone breakdown.

"Calcium-rich foods are one of the most important to have in your diet when trying to prevent osteoporosis. Foods such as fat-free plain yogurt, white beans, collard greens, kale, fat-free or low-fat milk and cheeses, broccoli, and almonds to just name a few.  You want to try and get 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium daily from the foods you eat."

Sue Teoli
FT New Canaan

"Calcium is a critical mineral to "bone up" on in your diet for bone health. When it comes to osteoporosis prevention and treatment, adequate daily calcium intake is a must.

"Milk, yogurt, and eggs are great sources of calcium. But don't forget about nuts! Peanuts and almonds are packed with potassium, which inhibits the loss of calcium in urine. Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that slows down bone loss and helps bone formation to continue. Nuts are also good sources of protein and other nutrients that contribute to keeping bones strong."

Dr. Janet Brill
FT Nutritionist

"To build and keep bones strong, people need to eat foods rich in both calcium and Vitamin D as well as stay away from bone-robbing foods such as excess salt and possibly soda.  If you ingest too much sodium, the excess is excreted in your urine. And when sodium is excreted, it drags calcium with it.  So you are losing calcium, too.

"Combine this nutrition strategy with regular weight-bearing cardio and resistance training and you have the perfect recipe for maintaining strong bones.

"Vitamin D should be consumed with calcium to help promote calcium absorption in the gut and maintain an adequate level of calcium and phosphate in the blood, necessary for bone mineralization.

"Most people know that dairy foods are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, but only if the dairy food is fortified with D.  Many are not.

"But what if you don’t eat dairy foods? There are plenty of other foods out there packed with calcium. For example, did you know that a kale salad has more calcium -- 350 mg -- than a glass of milk?  Some other non-dairy foods high in calcium include sardines, canned salmon with bones, soy milk, sesame seeds and arugula.

"If you're not consuming calcium-rich foods supplemented with Vitamin D, you should consult with you personal physician regarding supplementation with Vitamin D3. Vitamin D is formed in the skin from exposure to sunshine. There are few natural food sources of Vitamin D, such as salmon and mushrooms. Many people are deficient in D.  So I encourage people to get their levels tested."


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