Super Foods for BonesPublished:March 24th, 2012
Your bones are strong throughout your young adulthood. Once you hit middle age, they slowly begin to thin out. In women, this process speeds up after menopause. You can slow down the process by eating the right foods that can give you the maximum peak bone mass and boost your bone density at any age.
Milk: Adult up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams per day and after age 51, women need 1,200 milligrams every day. Men need that amount when they hit 71. A single 8-ounce cup of milk, whether skim, low fat, or whole, has 300 milligrams of calcium.
Yogurt and Cheese: A cup of yogurt has at least as much calcium as an 8-ounce cup of milk. And 1 ounce of Swiss cheese has nearly as much. Even if you are lactose intolerant, you can enjoy yogurt and hard cheeses, which are low in lactose. You may also try dairy products that are lactose-reduced or lactose-free. Removing lactose from milk and dairy foods does not affect the calcium content.
Sardines: Another excellent source of calcium is sardines. All those little fish bones have just what you need to build bone mass in your own body. Eating 3 ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than a cup of milk.
Greens: Go for dark leafy greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and kale. The traditional soul food favorites, collard and turnip greens, offer a lot of calcium, too. One cup of chopped, cooked turnip greens has about 200 milligrams of calcium.
Fortified Foods: If dairy products, sardines, and leafy greens leave you cold, consider eating fortified foods. Breakfast foods are a great start – fortified orange juice has up to 240 milligrams of calcium, and fortified cereals deliver up to 1,000 milligrams per cup. Check the nutritional label for the exact amount.
Soy Foods: Half a cup of calcium-enriched tofu contains as much as 861 milligrams of calcium, but calcium is not the only mineral that gives bones a leg up. New research suggests plant-based chemicals called isoflavones strengthen bone density as well. Isoflavones are plentiful in soy foods, such as tofu, and appear to have an estrogen-like effect on the body. This may make soy useful in warding off bone disease in postmenopausal women.
Salmon: Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain calcium as well as vitamin D, which assist in calcium absorption. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements have shown to reduce bone loss in elderly women and may prevent osteoporosis.
Nuts and Seeds: 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.