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6 Ways to Support Bone Health Through Nutrition

Did you know that of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women? Women, especially after age 50, are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis or the gradual thinning out of bones than men because the hormone changes that happen during menopause. These hormones can directly affect bone density and make you prone to bone fractures.

The earlier you can start thinking about bone health the better. “Through exercise and diet, we can help support building stronger, denser bones that will benefit you as you age,” said Aniela Tolentino, registered dietitian nutritionist at Hoag for Her Center for Wellness.

Here are six dietary practices to support strong, healthy bones.

  1. Consume More Dairy – Milk, yogurt, and cheese are loaded with calcium which is the main nutrient that contributes to bone strength and structure. “Women 51 and older should aim for 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Most adults need 1,000-1,200 milligrams per day with upper safety limits of 2000-2500 mg per day. If your diet is deficient in calcium, your body will ‘borrow’ it from your bones, eventually weakening them.” said Tolentino.
  2. Snack on Nuts – High in magnesium and phosphorous, nuts offer the nutrients that absorb and retain calcium in your bones. “Enjoy a small handful of almonds, walnuts or cashews as a mid-day snack to boost your nutrients,” said Tolentino.
  3. Incorporate Cruciferous Vegetables – Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, are cruciferous veggies that provide several nutrients key to supporting bone health. “Cruciferous vegetables are rich in calcium, Vitamin K, and Folate. Calcium is essential for bone strength, Vitamin K is essential for bone metabolism, and folate helps in maintaining bone density. Cruciferous veggies are an alternate way from dairy- containing foods to boost calcium in the diet,” per Tolentino.
  4. Soak Your Beans and Eat Your Beans – Most types of beans such as edamame, pinto beans and kidney beans not only provide fiber and protein, but they include bone-building nutrients like magnesium, calcium and phosphorus which are essential for bone metabolism. Tolentino states that “Bone metabolism refers to the continuous process of bone formation and breakdown that occurs in the body. The balance between these activities is essential for overall skeletal health, and proper nutrition plays a key role in supporting bone metabolism”. However, some beans, such as black beans and navy beans, are higher in phytates and oxalates which are natural substances that may prevent your body from absorbing calcium. Tolentino states, “You can reduce phytate levels by soaking beans in water overnight prior to cooking them in fresh water.”
  5. Salmon – Fatty fish like salmon are high in vitamin D which plays a key role in bone growth. “Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from the food you eat. Most adults between the ages of 19-70 need at least 600 IU or 15 micrograms and those age 71 and older need at least 800 IU or (20 mcg),” said Tolentino.
  6. Limit Caffeine and Soda Intake – Coffee, tea, and soda containing caffeine can decrease absorption of calcium and contribute to bone loss. Tolentino notes, “Drinking more than three cups of coffee per day may interfere with calcium absorption.”

In collaboration with your physician, Hoag for Her Center for Wellness registered dietitians can help guide and support you in making healthy dietary modifications to improve nutrition in order to prevent and manage various conditions Including bone health. To schedule an appointment please call 949-764-7239 or email