OTHER VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS
Your bones need more than calcium, protein and vitamin D to stay strong and healthy.
A balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables will provide you with the many vitamins and minerals that support bone health. These include:
Vitamin K is required for the correct mineralization of bone and research suggests that it may help increase bone density. Vitamin K sources include leafy green vegetables (lettuce, spinach, cabbage) as well as prunes, liver and some fermented cheeses and soya bean products.
Eat prunes as a snack!
Magnesium plays an important role in forming bone mineral. Because magnesium absorption decreases with age, seniors should be sure to get enough of this important mineral. Good sources of magnesium include green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and fish.
50 g of almonds meet up to 40% of your daily need for magnesium (and they contain calcium too!)
Foods that contain zinc include lean red meat, poultry, whole grain cereals, legumes, and pulses such as lentils.
Beans and chickpeas are good plant sources of zinc!
Some plant foods contain carotenoids (precursors to vitamin A). Carotenoids have been linked to improved bone health and are found in green leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkins, red and yellow peppers, mangoes, papaya and apricots.
50 g of raw carrots meet your daily need!
Vitamin B12 appears to have an effect on bone-building cells. Sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Supplementation is often recommended for people who follow a vegan diet (i.e. don’t eat meat or dairy), those who have had a gastric bypass or have gastrointestinal disorders, and when absorption is an issue. In the latter case, doctors may give injections of B12, bypassing the digestive tract, so patients get the benefits of the vitamin.
FOODS THAT CAN NEGATIVELY AFFECT BONE HEALTH
Both caffeine and salt can increase calcium loss from the body so you should consume these in moderation.
If you enjoy drinking coffee or other caffeine-containing drinks you need to ensure that you are getting sufficient calcium. Caffeine intake at 330 mg (approximately 4 cups) or more per day could be associated with an increase in the risk of osteoporotic fractures.
Add milk to your coffee to boost your calcium intake
Alcohol may also increase the risk of injuries since it can make it harder to keep your balance. For example, the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and no more than 1 drink a day for women.
There is no firm evidence that fizzy soft drinks (e.g. cola drinks) weaken bones, but here too, it's best not to overdo it.