There’s more to healthy bones than calcium-rich milk, although we all know that both milk and foods rich in vitamin D are good for your bones.
Bone is living tissue that constantly rebuilds and repairs itself. Alas, after age 50, bones start to lose density and strength and become porous, which leads to a bone disease called osteoporosis that increases the risk of broken bones. Chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you’re a woman; however, men also risk developing it, especially after age 70.
To keep bones strong, we need two nutrients in particular — calcium and vitamin D. Our bodies cannot make calcium, so eating calcium-rich foods is vital. Vitamin D, for its part, helps the body absorb calcium from food and seems to help protect older adults against osteoporosis.
Some people don’t have the taste or tolerance for dairy, but a variety of foods can help boost bone health. Although few foods have the calcium levels of dairy, if you combine several of those listed below, you can get a full day’s worth. And other nutrients — such as potassium and vitamin C — are important to keeping bones strong, as we explain below. Here are eight foods to incorporate into your diet that can help keep your bones healthy.
1. Dried figs
These chewy delights are a good source of both calcium and potassium, minerals that work together to help prevent osteoporosis. Dried figs contain healthy plant-based nutrients (phytochemicals) as well as chemicals that can help prevent cell damage (antioxidants). An added plus, according to Christopher Gardner, professor of medicine at Stanford University, is that dried figs are delectably sweet and provide a super-easy snack. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for six to 12 months.
Quick tip: Cut the figs into chunks (discard the hard stem) and combine them with other dried fruits and nuts for a customized trail mix.
Serving size: 60 grams (about 2 ounces)
Calcium content: 96 mg
To read about seven other foods that can improve your bone health, from AARP, CLICK HERE.