6 Nutrients to Help Keep Your Bones Strong and Healthy

Your bones are an essential part of your body, and they’re one of the only parts that don’t have any regenerative powers — once they’re broken, they can’t heal by themselves. With daily activities such as standing, walking, and even running damaging your bones, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat in order to keep them strong and healthy over time. Here are six nutrients that you should consider adding to your diet if you want to keep your bones healthy for life.

1) Vitamin D


Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies create it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, many people are deficient in Vitamin D, and it’s also been linked with strengthening bones—especially in older women. In fact, a study in JAMA Osteoporosis showed that postmenopausal women who were given a Vitamin D supplement had higher bone density than those who didn’t take one.

2) Calcium


This mineral keeps bones strong by supporting normal bone density. Older adults should consume at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Many people don’t realize that dairy products are not their only source of calcium—dried figs, broccoli, tofu, canned salmon, chia seeds and almonds all contain a great deal of calcium! Talk with your doctor about how much calcium you need on a daily basis if you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

3) Phosphorus


Bone is primarily made up of a combination of protein and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Adequate levels of all these nutrients are essential for healthy bone structure. Since phosphorus helps regulate calcium levels in our body (and vice versa), it’s especially important for bone health.

4) Boron


Boron is an essential trace mineral found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains, beans and peas. A deficiency of boron can lead to weak bones that fracture easily. Most people do not get enough boron in their diets; so including foods high in boron may be especially important for older individuals who are at risk for osteoporosis.

5) Magnesium


Studies have shown that magnesium can keep bones strong. One 2003 study published in Osteoporosis International found that women with osteoporosis who took 200 mg of magnesium daily for two years had less bone loss than those who did not take a supplement. Magnesium is found in leafy greens like spinach, as well as pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds.

6) Potassium


While we tend to think of calcium as one of our most important nutrients when it comes to healthy bones, potassium also plays a significant role. A potassium deficiency is known for making your bones more susceptible to breaking—and many people don’t get enough of it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends getting 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day—and even says that some people may need up to 5,100 milligrams a day!

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