Choose the restaurant, browse the menu and make your selection. You know the lean chicken and veggies provide more nutrients over a cheeseburger and fries. But, why? Other than the decreased fat and cholesterol content, what is it about certain foods that provide more to your body than others? Vitamins and minerals is what.
Eating healthy foods packed with vitamins and minerals is more than maintaining your weight. A balanced diet helps keep our bodies strong and our bones fortified. Our skeletal system requires both calcium and vitamin D to stay healthy and a nutritious diet can easily assist.
Let’s get underway and learn about foods that support bone health to help sustain your body.
10 Foods for Healthy Bones and Muscles
Calcium and vitamin D are the foundation for maintaining strong bones. When looking over nutritional labels it’s important to know adults over 50 should get 1,200 mgs of calcium and 400-600 IU of vitamin D each day. Thankfully, it’s easy to find delicious and nutritious foods with both.
As a kid, you likely heard people tell you to drink your milk so you’ll grow big and strong, right? Well, there’s something to that old adage. Calcium is a crucial element to developing strong teeth and bones – it aids in muscle function as well. An 8 oz. glass of low-fat or fat-free milk delivers 30% of your daily dose of calcium. Of course, for most of us, the idea of drinking a big glass of milk can certainly turn one’s stomach. But, there are a slew of everyday foods you can incorporate into your diet to ensure you’re getting enough calcium.
- Yogurt. Get a jumpstart on your day with a nutritious breakfast bowl. Go with plain or low-fat yogurt and stir in fresh blueberries for their antioxidant properties, plus chopped walnuts, to get a solid source of calcium. Yogurt alone can deliver up to 30% of your daily calcium intake.
- Cheese and crackers are more than just an hors d’oeuvre at your next dinner party – it’s a solid option for calcium that can be enjoyed every day. A few slices of cheddar bring approximately 30% of your daily value.
- Get your greens! Spinach is the favorite of a certain famous cartoon sailor because it’s packed with nutrients. One cup of cooked spinach packs 25% of your daily intake of calcium. Not to mention it contains fiber, iron and vitamin A for even more nutrients. If you’re into smoothies, toss in a handful of fresh spinach — you’ll enjoy the benefits and won’t detect the flavor. Collard greens, another leafy green, take your calcium intake up a notch, too. Just like spinach, one cup of collards brings 25% of the calcium you need each day. Other options like kale, broccoli and Swiss chard come with the benefits of a good dose of calcium.
- Vitamin D + Calcium Work Together
Calcium is certainly not the only nutrient that supports bone density: Vitamin D is its own health powerhouse. These two work together to help absorb calcium into your body. Consider this analogy: Vitamin D is to the train as calcium is to the passenger. Your body needs the help of the vitamin D train to deliver the calcium passenger to the source — your bones.
- Catch of the Day
Eating fish works overtime to provide healthy nutrients. Just 3 ounces of salmon is great for your heart and even better for your bones, delivering more than a full daily dose of vitamin D. Meanwhile, you might call tuna “sun in a can” because 3 ounces of this lean and delicious option packs 39% of your daily dose of vitamin D. And the next time you choose the pizza toppings, consider sardines. They have a rich savory flavor with high levels of calcium, vitamin D and protein. If you don’t like fish but you want to give your joints extra support, try Osteo Bi-Flex® Triple Strength + Vitamin D.* Our supplements help nourish your joints and support bone density.* Two pills per day gets you ready for the days ahead, so you can walk, swim, practice yoga – and anything else you enjoy doing. You were Made to Move, and Osteo Bi-Flex® is there for you to maintain your flexibility and mobility.*
Tips To Help Support Bone Density
Check the labels. Paying attention to what you put in your body can pay off greatly. Many foods at your local market are fortified with vitamin D. You can find fortified foods in some breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, milk and more. Tune into what you’re consuming: The more you learn about the ingredients inside your food, the better opportunity you have to be proactive about your health. For example. many people believe yogurt is a healthy choice — and it is, if it’s plain low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt — but most flavored yogurts are filled with added sugar, and sugar steals calcium from your bones as your body processes it. Ideally, choose single-ingredient foods. Packaged or pre-made foods are typically loaded with unhealthy preservatives, additives, sugars and sodium. By shopping for single-ingredient options (e.g. tomatoes, apples, nuts, brown rice, avocado), you know exactly what’s going into your body. It’s important to know what you’re consuming as small positive changes in your diet can improve how you feel and move.
Foods to Reduce
We love a rich, piping hot cup of coffee in the morning just as much as the next person. But, we must say it: Drink less caffeine. While caffeine does have its benefits, consuming too much can get in the way of our body’s natural ability to absorb calcium. Like anything, keep it in moderation. Replace one of your cups of coffee with sugar-free carbonated water. It will help keep you hydrated, and not interfere with the precise inner workings of your incredible body.
Just like caffeine, chill out on the booze, too. Not only is alcohol one of the easiest ways to put on unwanted weight, it also may prohibit your body from taking in vitamin D. You’ve heard the phrase everything in moderation? Well, if we’re honest, pretty much anything that counts as a guilty pleasure should be consumed in moderation.
There is one thing, however, that should be completely eliminated: Smoking. No big surprise, hey? It says right on the pack that smoking is damaging to your health. Smoking also can prevent the body from properly absorbing calcium. Quitting is hard, we get it. But it’s certainly not impossible. These days, there are numerous aids to help people quit — from nicotine replacements to talk therapy, and support groups to smart phone apps that’ll coach you through quitting, medication and more. You were Made to Move and you certainly shouldn’t be held down by cigarettes.
Next, onto exercise. We know what you’re thinking, exercise is not a food, but bear with us. Exercise is one of the best ways to counteract a litany of health issues, including osteoporosis. So make it a priority in your daily routine. Starting an exercise regimen could be as simple as a walk around the block every day — and building up toward increased movement. The great news you can see a difference in joint comfort with a daily dose of Osteo Bi-Flex®Ease.* Our tablet is 80% smaller^, but still packs the same amount of power. It’s the drug-free way to feel an improvement in your joint comfort in just 7 days.*† For keeping bones strong, effective exercises come from light to moderate activities like walking, jogging and climbing stairs. Want to add a dash of childhood fun? Put jumping rope on that list. Weight bearing exercises such as these help keep bones at their strongest. And the good news is, that added strength help support your balance, which can decrease the risk of falls.
Call your family. A look into your future could be as simple as looking to your past. Understanding your family history is one of the simplest ways to care for your body now, so you can enjoy an active lifestyle well into your later years. Having a simple conversation with older family members about bone density and other health concerns could prepare you for how your body will age. Most doctors suggest a bone density test for women at age 65 and for men at age 70. Having some insight into a parent’s or even a grandparent’s health information can be vital. And whether that is readily available to you or not, there are plenty of foods, exercises or products by Osteo Bi-Flex® that can assist in bringing the nutrients you need to enjoy strong bones for the long term.*
Strong bones and muscles are the building blocks for a healthy active lifestyle. Indulge in the foods that fortify your body. And with the help of Osteo Bi-Flex®, you can continue doing what you love!