As children, I’m sure we’ve all been through that phase where our mothers used to force us to eat or drink something we didn’t like. I too have suffered! The most common explanation given by my mom was that my bones won’t grow big and strong if I don’t eat the right foods.
She would keep on nagging me to get me to drink a glass of milk. But what exactly was so great about milk that made it so good for my bones? Or was it all a part of an elaborate scheme to get me to eat things I didn’t like?!
We all know calcium and vitamin D are the two nutrients most required for your bones to grow big and strong. So, naturally, you can assume that foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D are your best bets for growing long and strong bones. It’s recommended that a healthy adult should consume up to 1000mg of calcium and up to 200 units of vitamin on any given day. However, people often turn to supplementation to help them reach these goals.
This is because most are unaware of natural foods that will give them this required dosage. We’ve listed some of the best foods for your bones below.
The second someone says calcium, odds are the first thing that everyone thinks of is milk. This nutritious liquid has rightly become the go-to for anyone looking for stronger teeth and bones. A single glass of milk has around 90 calories with up to 30% of your daily recommended dose of calcium. It is also a great source of vitamin D.
Most dairy products have high calcium content and yogurt is no different. A typical serving or 1 cup of yogurt has anywhere between 300 to 400mg of calcium. Yogurt also has a particularly high concentration of vitamin D. supplement it with a little exposure to the sun; that should ensure you get your daily requirement of vitamin D.
A word of caution: high protein variants of yogurt like Greek have low amounts of vitamin D and calcium; check the nutritional value on the back of a pack.
Green leafy vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, and spinach is known as the king of this group. People who are lactose intolerant and can’t opt for milk should try to include as much spinach in their diet as possible. A single cup of spinach can amount to 25% of your daily allowance of calcium. As a bonus, it also comes loaded with fiber, iron, and vitamin A. You can multiply your dose of calcium by combining spinach with other nutrient-rich foods for an added kick.
Most people swear by tuna for its healthy dose of omega-3 fats and lean protein. It is also a great source of vitamin D. A typical 30gram serving of tuna contains roughly 39% of your daily dose of vitamin D. plus, who doesn’t love a delicious tuna sandwich? All the more reason to include it in your diet.
Blackstrap molasses is a popular substitute for sugar. It is much healthier than sugar, and provides a lot of added benefits. Some of the nutrients that make it so healthy are calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. You can also add a spoonful of it to a cup of milk and double the bone strengthening goodness.
Orange in any form is known for its high vitamin C content. However, it is usually infused with high amounts of vitamin D and calcium when consumed in the juice form. Studies have also found that orange juice helps your body absorb calcium. Having a glass or orange juice with breakfast is one of the healthiest ways to start your day.
In addition to these foods, there are a couple of other things you can do to make sure your bones stay healthy. Alcohol and nicotine in any form can be dangerous to bone health in the long run. As you get older, it’s better to avoid these substances or at least cut down on your consumption as much as possible. Make sure to get some exercise, at least a few times a week. Playing basketball, lifting weights, or sprinting have been found to increase bone density.
Now that you’re aware of what foods you should be eating, make sure to try and meet your daily recommended allowances of vitamin D and calcium. When combined with a little exercise, you’re sure to have strong, healthy bones.
About Vineetha Reddy:
Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to health, fitness and yoga, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem. I strongly believe that the organic food you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health.