You know about milk, cheese, and greens being crucial foods for strong bones.
But there are others you may have never thought of that could improve your bone density too.
That’s why we asked 10 experts the following question:
What unique (often overlooked) food do you recommend for strong bones?
It’s all part of our National Osteoporosis Month campaign to spread awareness of this “silent” disease.
Discover what foods you may be overlooking that can support your bones!
And while you’re at it, enter our giveaway to win a 6-Month Supply of AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost below!
Lara Pizzorno, MDiv, MA, LMT.
Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.
# 1 Full Fat, Organic Plain Yogurt
Full-fat, organic plain yogurt from pastured cows. Dairy foods, particularly yogurt, deliver the widest range of beneficial nutrients for our bones – IF, and this is crucial IF, the yogurt consumed is full fat, organic plain yogurt produced from the milk of pastured cows.
Plain yogurt (that meets these criteria) will provide not only calcium, but magnesium and zinc, plus small amounts of vitamin K2 (in the form of MK-4), vitamin A, and vitamin D (as most cow’s milk is now fortified with vitamin D, one cup of yogurt per day provides 200 IU of vitamin D3 along with 400 mg of calcium) — and a hefty dose of protein.
In addition, organic, full-fat plain yogurt from pastured cows will contain beneficial bacteria that protect the gut, greatly improving our digestion and absorption of all the nutrients bones require. And lastly, once established in our intestines, the probiotic bacteria provided by yogurt will produce the B vitamins we need to support a healthy cardiovascular system, nervous system, and energy metabolism – as well as healthy bones.
Low-fat yogurt, even if organic, will not contain the fat-soluble vitamins, K2 or A. Non-organic yogurt, even if full fat, will contain pesticide residues, possible hormone, and antibiotic residues, GMO sugars & a variety of chemical additives – all of which may harm bone via a wide variety of mechanisms.
Many studies show a significant inverse association between consumption of dairy products and elevated markers of bone turnover (indicators of excessive bone loss) and a positive association between dairy food intake and bone mineral content.
Christal Sczebel, C.H.N., R.M.T.
Christal is the owner & Nutritionist, Nutritionist in the Kitch Pure & Simple Nutritional Consulting.
She is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant (C.H.N.C.), Registered Massage Therapist (R.M.T.), and educated in Personal Fitness Training.
#2 Protein Powders
Protein powders have been popular for ages, but unfortunately, there are many on the market that contain additives and artificial ingredients. However, fortunately, there are protein powders available now that are made from Bovine collagen. These collagen peptide protein powders contain no added ingredients and dissolve wonderfully into many recipes. Collagen peptides are rich in amino acids which help to strengthen our bones and joints! Collagen peptides can be found in powdered forms in specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods or online (Amazon, etc.).
Stacy E. Davis, NCCAOM (Acupuncturist).
Stacy completed her Master’s of Science in Oriental Medicine in 2007 and maintains her NCCAOM certification as well as her licensure through the state of New Mexico.
A Wyoming native, Dr. Stacy Davis has practiced acupuncture for 10 years.
#3 Black Beans and Kelp
In Chinese medicine, we look at vitality (what we call Jing) as coming from our kidneys. As we age, we use up our Jing, and we start to see signs that we associate with aging: graying hair, weak knees and back, and weaker bones. Interestingly, in western medicine, the kidneys play a role in bone health as well; healthy kidneys turn vitamin D into an active hormone (calcitriol), which helps increase calcium absorption from the intestines into the blood. So, from my perspective, when I look to strengthen bones I look to strengthen the kidneys.
There are two foods I recommend, depending on other signs and symptoms a patient might have. The first is black beans. In Chinese medicine, when we look at food, we look at the “energy” of that food. You might think of this as the nature of the food. Most legumes are considered good for the kidneys because they are the pure Jing or vitality of the plant. When you eat beans you consume that vitality. Additionally, black beans contain about 135 mg of calcium per half cup serving.
Foods that are naturally salty are also considered nourishing for the kidneys, so the second food I would consider is kelp. The slightly fishy flavor of kelp can turn some people away, so I like to use kelp granules as a salt replacement on fish and eggs and in soup.
Dr. John La Puma, M.D. F.A.C.P.
Dr. La Puma has led clinical trials of nutritional interventions designed to improve obesity, hypertension, osteoarthritis, insomnia and diabetes, and pioneered culinary medicine.
His mission is to help you get measurably healthier with what you eat and how you live.
Prunes, or as their marketing board says, dried plums, are effective in both preventing and reversing bone loss in postmenopausal women. People who eat the most foods rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits and some stone fruits, like plums) have 70% less cartilage loss than those who eat the least and a threefold reduction in the progression of the disease.
Osteoarthritis (“wear and tear arthritis”), the most common type of arthritis in the U.S., is a painful degenerative condition that occurs when cartilage (which cushions bone joints) become cracked and pitted. It is estimated that 80% of the population will have osteoarthritis by the age of 65, although almost half of those people will not have any symptoms.
Kelly O. Schmidt, R.D.N., L.D.N.
Fueled by passion and driven by greatness, Kelly educates and empowers her clients to reach their best health.
Kelly has been featured in Men’s Health, SELF, Glamour and more!
#5 Bone Broth
Hands-down, bone broth. Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods we can consume daily. Most importantly, bone broth is rich in two very special amino acids: proline and glycine, as well, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants (especially calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus). Consumers can use bone broth in cooking vegetables, stir fry’s or even sip it like tea. I like to make a large batch of bone broth, freeze it in icecube trays and pop out a few cubes for cooking.