One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis, a disease that weakens a person’s bones and makes them more likely to break. And we don’t need to explain why having a broken bone is just the abyss. Between the discomfort and inconvenience of coping with a fracture, it’s understandable that people want to find a way to reduce their risk of experiencing this very common event.
Although there is no surefire way to prevent the development of osteoporosis, your food choices and lifestyle can play a role in your level of risk. Participating in weight-bearing exercises, avoiding cigarettes, and limiting or avoiding your alcohol intake are all evidence-based ways to help keep your bones in top shape. And when it comes to your diet, there are plenty of nutrient-dense, bone-healthy foods that can help you hit your quota for the day.
What nutrients do we need for our bone health?
When we think about eating for our bones, calcium tends to be the star of the show. And while it’s true that calcium plays a central role in bone health, this mineral would be lost without adequate amounts of other key nutrients that are also important for our bones.
In addition to calcium, our bodies need many other nutrients to help maintain our bone health, including:
- Vitamin C
- omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
Eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense vegetables, seafood, fruits, whole grains, poultry, nuts and legumes, and low-fat dairy products will generally fuel the body with these important nutrients.
And at the same time, we should try to limit our intake of added sugars, colas, and fried foods to support our bones. Limiting or avoiding caffeine can also have a positive effect on bone health.
Eating balanced, healthy meals is a step in the right direction when it comes to bone health. But when the snack-time tummy grunts hit, it can be a little harder to find the right bites that support bone health.
If you’re looking for the best snacks to support your bones, let us help you in your quest. Here are five snacks you should grab when you need a little something extra and want to fuel your body with bone-health-boosting nutrition.
Loved by anyone who needs a little help with the digestive tract, prunes are a gut health supporting food that tastes great and is easy to eat. But prunes aren’t just good for the stomach, as eating them consistently has been linked to positive bone health outcomes.
One look at the nutrient profile of prunes, and you can see why these fruits are one of the best things to snack on for healthy bones. From boron to magnesium to vitamin K, the list of bone-health-promoting nutrients in these tiny nutritional powerhouses can seem endless. And just one serving of Sunsweet Plums (40 grams) provides 3 grams of fiber, zero grams of added sugar, and 6% of your daily recommended potassium. Prunes also contain phenolic compounds, which can block bone resorption and promote bone formation.
The data specifically shows that eating prunes every day may help certain populations experience bone health benefits. For men, the data published in the Medical Food Journal found positive effects on markers of bone health after men ate 10 to 12 prunes a day for a year. And for postmenopausal women, a new 12-month study from Pennsylvania State University showed that eating 50 grams of prunes (5-6 prunes) every day for a year preserved hip bone mineral density and reduced the risk of hip fracture.
Prunes can be enjoyed dipped in dark chocolate, as an addition to a yogurt parfait, or stuffed with soft cheese for a more decadent snack. Of course, they can also be enjoyed on their own.
Cottage cheese is a convenient source of protein, an important macro for supporting bone health. And like other dairy products, it is also a source of calcium, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus. Opting for a probiotic-based cottage cheese, like Good Culture, may offer even more support for bone health, as there is some evidence to suggest that probiotics may also help maintain bone health.
Mixing cottage cheese with fruit is a balanced and delicious snack, not only for bone health but also for overall health.
One of the most popular sources of vitamin C is 100% orange juice. And while this nutrient is important for immune health, it’s also essential for supporting the production of collagen, which is necessary for bone and cartilage formation.
The potassium present in orange juice plays a role in acid-base balance, which influences bone mineral density, and the flavonoids naturally present in this juice may be involved in processes that affect bone structure and formation. .
Opting for fortified orange juice that has added calcium and vitamin D will fuel the body with even more bone-health-supporting nutrients.
Snacking on frozen orange juice in a pop mold makes a refreshing no-sugar-added treat that provides a bonus of fueling the body with bone-health-supporting nutrients.
Mash avocado on a piece of toast and top it with sardines is the ultimate bone-healthy snack that will keep you satisfied. Sardines and avocados contain healthy fats, which can help support bone health. Plus, they both contain magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin A, even more essential nutrients. Pro tip: When choosing your sardines, opt for those that still contain soft bones, as eating this variety will fuel your body with more calcium than boneless options.
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on your toast, and maybe even add a sprinkle of hot sauce if you like. Your belly and your bones will thank you for it.
Foods containing soy like roasted soy contain chemicals called isoflavones, which are similar in structure and function to estrogen and have been shown to promote bone formation while inhibiting bone breakdown. Plus, they’re packed with bone-healthy nutrients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium.
Data shows that soybean consumption has a positive impact on bone health when populations who eat traditional soy foods (such as fermented soybean curd, soy milk, fresh soybean curd, puff fried soybean curd and soy) were evaluated. A lower impact has been observed among populations who do not consume large amounts of soy foods and who opt for more heavily processed soy foods, such as soy milk, soy meat substitutes and soy protein bars, which may have lower isoflavone content.
Munching on roasted soybeans can give the body a boost of important isoflavones as well as other nutrients essential for bone health. Edamame is also a good soy snack option.
At around 50 cents per serving and packed with nutrients, the classic breakfast can be a great snack for those concerned about bone health. For example, classic Cheerios provide zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and many other nutrients that promote bone health, and that’s not counting the nutrients found in milk. added (assuming you eat your cereal with milk and not dry).
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