Conventional wisdom says to eat and drink plenty of dairy products for strong bones and to ward off osteoporosis, a condition characterized by low bone mineral density that increases the risk of fractures. However, bones are made up of more than calcium. A slew of vital nutrients, including vitamins D, K, potassium, and magnesium also work to build strong bones.

To ensure your diet is feeding your bones with the best possible nutrients, make sure it includes these powerhouses.

1. Olive oil

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet, based on vegetables and other whole foods, with healthy doses of olive oil can protect against osteoporosis notes a 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. Researchers discovered olive oil increases the production of bone markers important to skeletal health. The study evaluated three groups—one that ate a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, another eating the same diet but supplemented with virgin olive oil, and a third that ate a low-fat diet. Only subjects in the group eating olive oil were found to have increased levels of the bone formation markers.

2. Fish

Salmon and other fatty fish, such as tuna and mackerel, contain loads of vitamin D, an important nutrient that supports bone health. Vitamin D works in conjunction with calcium by promoting absorption and helping to build strong bones.

3. Leafy greens

Green vegetables including kale, spinach, and collard greens contain a healthy array of vitamins and minerals that help bones stay strong. These nutritious plants include potassium, vitamin K, and calcium. Vitamin K not only helps to increase bone density among people with osteoporosis, but it also helps reduce the incidence of fractures, according to a review of studies published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice. Best of all, stir-frying leafy green veggies in olive oil combines two healthy foods for the ultimate bone-strengthening diet.

4. Prunes

Otherwise known as dried plums, prunes have been shown to prevent osteoporosis and related fractures. A 2011 study conducted at Florida State University found that women who ate 100 grams of prunes daily for 12 months had higher bone mineral density than women who ate dried apples instead. The fruits inhibited bone resorption, the process of bones breaking down that occurs naturally in people of all ages, but that outpaces the process of new bone formation as people age. For optimal results, the study’s researchers recommended eating two or three prunes daily and slowly increasing that number to six or ten over time.

What foods do you eat to promote bone health? 

Image by via Flickr


Weekly updates on conditions, treatments, and news about everything happening inside pain medicine.

You have Successfully Subscribed!