​The Best Bone-Building Foods

Food nutrition plays an important role in building and maintaining healthy bones. It's important for our bodies to absorb nutrients from whole foods for bone health, but supplements are also important. Incorporating a solid base of bone-building foods is a good start, and supplementing to fill nutritional gaps is a great idea for people of all ages to build and maintain strong, healthy bones

  • When we think of building bones, most of us immediately think of calcium, which is found in dairy products such as yogurt and milk. But there are many non-dairy foods that are also high in calcium. These include spinach, kale, darky leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and almonds. 
  • It’s important to note that without vitamin D, our bodies aren't able to absorb that calcium. There are a number of foods that contain moderate levels of vitamin D, such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel. Tuna can also be added to that list, but we should limit our consumption due to mercury levels. If we aren't getting enough vitamin D through diet alone, a supplement can be a great option.
  • Vitamin K is essential for synthesizing osteocalcin, a protein that contributes to bone formation and strength. Getting vitamin K from whole foods is possible. Foods rich in vitamin K include spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and green beans. A vitamin K supplement, or a combination supplement that provides vitamins D and K can also be a good option for those not getting enough of these vitamins through their diet.
  • Magnesium contributes to higher bone mineral density, which can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Foods high in magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, lima bean, swiss chard, and bananas.
  • Boron is critical in bone growth and development. It positively influences the magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D we consume. Boron-rich foods include almonds, avocados, grapes, peaches, oranges, pears, broccoli, carrots, and onions.
  • Silicon facilitates bone mineralization. Eating foods rich in silicon improves bone strength. We can find silicon in a variety of foods like cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes spinach, apples, oranges, brown rice, and oats.
  • Zinc has a direct effect on bone formation and mineralization. We'll find zinc in pumpkin seed, almonds, peanuts cashews, chickpeas, beef, and turkey.
  • Manganese-rich foods support bone mineral density which is important for aging adults. These foods include artichokes, lima beans, pineapples, spinach, strawberries, brown rice, oats, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans.

Here’s what a single day diet of bone building foods would look like.

Breakfast: Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds and pineapple chunks.

Lunch: Salad with romaine, spinach, bell pepper, and cucumbers, topped with a can of sardines packed in olive oil.

Dinner: Baked salmon, served with brown rice and steamed asparagus.

Snacks: A handful of almonds, mashed avocado served with carrot sticks, and a banana or an orange.

With so many delicious food options, we can see how easy it can be to incorporate everyday foods that support healthy bones.