Bone health is an important aspect of wellness no matter your age. Because the bones are constantly regenerating new tissue, there is ample opportunity to promote the strongest, most resilient structures possible. To boost function within the cells that build new bone tissue, only a few simple habits are needed.
Exercise isn’t only good for the heart and lungs; it is also good for the bones. This is especially true when weight-bearing activities like strength training, yoga, or running are a routine part of the exercise. Research demonstrates the bone-building power of exercise in both children and adults. In one study, researchers determined that teens who lived a sedentary lifestyle measured lower bone density scores than teens who were more physically active. The benefits of exercise pay off later in life, too. Another study suggested that teen girls who routinely engage in physical activity are less likely to suffer the hip fracture as adults.
We are often encouraged to load our children’s plates with healthy fruits and vegetables. Foods like spinach and tomatoes are loaded with nutrients, we all know that. But when it comes to the bones, we usually turn toward milk for nourishment. Experts say this may not be the end-all-be-all we imagine.
Bone health is promoted by nutrients like magnesium and potassium (yay for bananas!), and vitamins K, D, and C, and, of course, calcium. Vitamin K, integral to bone formation, is present in spinach and other dark leafy greens, as well as beans. Vitamin C, which helps the body make strong collagen to support bones, is found in numerous fruits, as well as peppers and tomatoes. In addition to being found in bananas, potassium is also available in potatoes and oranges. Finally, the important mineral magnesium can be consumed in a salad of leafy greens topped with a helping of beans.
Calcium and vitamin D are usually consumed in milk products. However, research shows that plants provide us with abundant opportunities to eat this vital mineral. Foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale not only have comparable amounts of calcium as milk, but the calcium from plant sources seems to be more easily absorbed.