Healthy Bones

An Overview

A healthy balanced diet will help you build healthy bones from an early age and maintain them throughout your life. You need sufficient calcium to keep your bones healthy and vitamin Dto help your body absorb calcium. Poor bone health can cause conditions such as rickets and osteoporosisand increase the risk of breaking a bone from a fall later in life. You should be able to get all the nutrients you need for healthy bones by eating a balanced diet. A good diet is only one of the building blocks for healthy bones, which also includes exercise and avoiding certain risk factors for osteoporosis.

Building healthy bones is extremely important. Minerals are incorporated into your bones during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Once you reach 30 years of age, you have achieved peak bone mass. If not enough bone mass is created during this time or bone loss occurs later in life, you have an increased risk of developing fragile bones that break easily. Fortunately, many nutrition and lifestyle habits can help you build strong bones and maintain them as you age.

Your bones are continuously changing new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

Some of the factors related to your risk of getting osteoporosis—like genetics and hormonal shifts—are not in your control. However, your diet and lifestyle also play a role in bone health—and you can make changes in these areas that support your bones. Along with adopting lifestyle practices, such as participating in weight-bearing exercise and avoiding smoking, consuming certain foods can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

What affects bone health

A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:
• The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
• Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
• Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than one alcoholic drink a day for women or two alcoholic drinks a day for men may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
• Sex. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men.
• Size. You’re at risk if you are extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you might have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
• Age. Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.

Food for Healthy bones

Eat Lots of Vegetables

They’re one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, some studies suggest that vitamin C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage. Vegetables also seem to increase bone mineral density, also known as bone density. Bone density is a measurement of the amount of calcium and other minerals found in your bones. Both osteopenia (low bone mass) and osteoporosis (brittle bones) are conditions characterized by low bone density.

Fortified 100% Orange Juice

You probably already know that 100% orange juice is packed with vitamin C (which supports cartilage formation), but it also naturally contains other nutrients that are key to bone health. Having a glass of 100% OJ will give you some potassium to support bone mineral density, and magnesium, which plays a role in bone health.
The results of three clinical trials showed that drinking citrus juices containing a specific carotene resulted in positive changes in bone activity (and 100% OJ is one of those juices).

Perform Strength Training and Weight-Bearing Exercises

Engaging in specific types of exercise can help you build and maintain strong bones. One of the best types of activity for bone health is weight-bearing or high-impact exercise, which promotes the formation of new bone.
Studies in children, including those with type 1 diabetes, have found that this type of activity increases the amount of bone created during the years of peak bone growth. In addition, it can be extremely beneficial for preventing bone loss in older adults.


Cranberries are a natural source of vitamin C—which your body needs to create collagen in the bone matrix.
Studies have also highlighted the role that natural polyphenols (nutrients that we get from plant-based foods) in berries play in bone health. One study found that a cranberry polyphenol called proanthocyanidins (PAC) may help decrease bone breakdown.5 There is also a positive link between high cranberry intake and higher bone mass.

Pay attention to vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish and tuna. Additionally, mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.


Calcium is the bone-building darling in a glass of milk, but the beverage also naturally contains other nutrients that benefit bone health, including vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Consuming dairy products may also reduce your risk of osteoporosis and lower your rate of bone loss.8 Aside from all the vitamins and minerals in the drink, milk also contains the natural sugar lactose, which increases calcium absorption in the human body. Dairy milk also contains 8 grams of protein per serving. Protein intake can improve bone health, making milk a great addition to a bone-building diet.

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