As we age bones get brittle and thin out thereby increasing the risk of fractures and joint dislocation. We cannot predict our bone health in the future, but we can certainly eat foods that strengthen bones and boost bone density. Give it serious thought now! For the choices we make today will dictate our bone health in the future. This article brings to light foods essential for strong bones.

Exercise and the right diet are of utmost importance if you want healthy bones in your old age. Bone health can deteriorate drastically in accordance with diet and lifestyle. There are many

contributing factors for poor bone health. Not many of us face bone-related problems when we are young. But as we grow old bone density reduces, bones lose they flexibility. Also, tissue tear leads to bone-related problems during old age. It’s in our own hands to make sure our bones are strong as we grow older. Eating right and exercising regularly definitely pays huge rewards in our old age. There are certain foods that you should include in your diet if you want strong bones.

Two key nutrients that play a vital role in maintaining good bone health are calcium and vitamin D. A balanced intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients is necessary for the human body from an early age. A balanced diet with key nutrients minimizes the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that is characterized by brittle bones and degeneration of bones. As we grow older our nutrient intake should increase. 1000 mg calcium is required in a day for individuals from age 18 to 50. Persons above age of 50 should get 1200 mg calcium in a day. Vitamin D requirement should be 200 IU and 400-550 IU per day respectively. Make sure you do not consume excess salt in your diet. Salt is beneficial for good health but it’s got to be just a pinch. When you consume salt in excess it deprives the body of calcium by excreting calcium through urine. A low-salt diet is a must if you want to maintain strong bones. Given below is a list of foods for strong bones.

Foods for Strong Bones

1. Milk
Though there are many that believe that consumption of milk regularly does more damage than good, the fact remains that this dairy product is an excellent source of calcium. Milk is a good source of protein fortified with vitamin D and vitamin A. Most individuals that are taking calcium supplements require only one glass of milk in a day. Make sure you do not go over the top with milk. A glass of milk is sufficient because we get calcium from different food sources. If you have milk in moderation it does help maintain strong bones.

2. Sardines
If fish is your thing, dig into sardines. This fish is an excellent source of calcium. Around 3 oz of canned sardines provide a range of health benefits. Do not get rid of the tiny fish bones, munch your way through these tiny titbits. Sardines are also a rich source of vitamin D that plays a key role in calcium absorption which is a necessity for strong bones. Both calcium and vitamin D present in sardines help in healthy bone development. One ounce of sardines has approximately 107 mg of calcium. This fish is rich in phosphorous, one of the important minerals for bone health.

3. Greens/Leafy Vegetables
You just cannot escape green vegetables. These are a requirement for every age group. Leafy greens provide calcium and also contain vitamin K and vitamin D that play a vital role in calcium absorption. Listed below are leafy green vegetables, dark greens and green vegetables that are essential for maintaining strong bones.

• Kale
• Bok Choy/Chinese Cabbage
• Cabbage
• Broccoli
• Watercress
• Peas
• Asparagus
• Spinach
• Turnip Greens

4. Salmon
Salmon is powerhouse when it comes to health benefits. This fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are essential for healthy bone mass development. Salmon contains a bioactive peptide that assists in development of strong bones. Salmon calcitonin is used in osteoporosis treatment. Salmon is an oily fish which when consumed in a balanced diet helps minimize bone loss as we grow older. Individuals that include salmon in their diet also minimize the risk of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease associated with bone joints.

5. Seeds and Nuts
Want strong bones! Include seeds and nuts in your munch snacks. Seeds and Nuts boost bone health in a big way. Nuts are an excellent source of combined nutrients that play an important role in development of strong bones. Seeds and nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids that are a requirement for our body for better development and growth. Almonds are a rich source of potassium, Essential fatty acids present in nuts and seeds help increase calcium absorption. Furthermore these fatty acids also increase deposition of calcium on bone and reduce excess urinary calcium excretion. Due to enhanced collagen synthesis bone health is improved. You can chop nuts and sprinkle them over ice-creams, milk shakes, custards, puddings, cakes, pastries, brownies or any recipe you can think of. Given below is a list of

seeds and nuts for healthy bones.

• Walnuts
• Almonds
• Peanuts
• Flax Seeds
• Pumpkin Seeds
• Apricots
• Cashews
• Pistachios

6. Fortified Foods
You should opt for fortified foods if you are allergic to certain foods or dislike certain nutrient rich foods because of their taste. These foods are also heaven-sent for individuals who live a hectic lifestyle. Fortified foods do not contain calcium content naturally but are enhanced with mineral composition of varying amounts. Breakfast cereals are amongst the most popular fortified foods. Fortified cereals and fortified orange juice not only provide you with the required amount of calcium for strong bones, they also provide an energy boost that leaves you energized throughout the day. When you opt for fortified foods make sure you check the nutrient content on the package.

7. Eggs
Though eggs seem an odd choice for healthy bones, there’s no denying that micronutrients present in egg yolk are beneficial for healthy bone function. Phosphorous, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A amongst other nutrients are found in egg yolk. Furthermore egg whites provide magnesium and protein that are necessary for strong bones. Keep in mind a large egg contains approximately 184 mg cholesterol. If you are suffering from cardiovascular problems, it’s best you opt for other foods that are beneficial for bone health.

8. Yogurt
A cup of yogurt offers a range of health benefits. It provides calcium that helps increase bone density thereby reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Over the years a number of lactose-free flavored fortified yogurts have emerged, these are good option for lactose intolerant individuals.

9. Blueberries
There are few fruits that can be conferred the title ‘Superfruit’, and this fruit is definitely one of them. Blueberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that offer a wide range of health benefits. Consumption of blueberries helps enhances activity in formation of osteoblasts, related to bone-development and bone-tissue. Blueberries have the potential to calm excess crew cells osteoclasts and naturally boost bone-developing osteoblasts.

10. Carrots
Carrots have numerous health benefits. It’s best you eat them raw. If you develop a taste for carrot juice, go ahead, its healthy. Carrots are good for eyesight, skin, nails, and yes bones too. The combined mix of minerals present in carrots is excellent for bone tissue growth. Beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene present in carrots have been associated with healthy bones.

11. Pineapple
This tropical fruit is a superfood for strong bones. Natural proteolytic enzymes present in pineapples provide relief from bone inflammation due to fractures, and pain in connecting tissue of bones. This fruit is a right source of manganese that assists in strengthening bones. Pineapple is a juicy fruit loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients essential for individuals with osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. Aside from strengthening bones, enzymes present in this fruit also help in protection of bone connective tissue. Bromelain, a combination proteolytic enzymes and digestive proteins present in pineapple are known to heal torn ligaments, treat inflammation, and reduce pain in joints and muscle injuries.

Other foods that help maintain strong bones
• Cheese
• Soya Milk
• Tuna, Cod
• Turnip Greens
• Kidney Beans

Aside from a balanced nutritional diet, it is of prime importance that you exercise regularly. Our body needs daily physical activity for better functioning. Simple tasks like walking everyday make a huge difference in bone health in the future. Foods rich in nutrients provide natural lubrication for bones, but if bones are inactive their health is bound to deteriorate. Some form of physical activity everyday is a must if you want strong bones. Furthermore, bones require sunlight. Yes, our body produces vitamin D naturally in response to rays of the sun. Direct exposure to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes a day, thrice a week is enough for Vitamin D production. If you have sensitive skin use a light sunscreen lotion, but get sunlight, it’s healthy for your bones.

Bone health can deteriorate drastically if you
• Consume alcohol often
• Include a high amount of caffeine in your diet
• Smoke excessively
• Consume a lot of carbonated drinks (Colas in particular)
• Live a sedentary lifestyle