Building Strong Bones

Be sure you're getting enough of these nutrients that help prevent osteoporosis and promote good bone health.


Lacinato kale

Photo by: Lyudmila Suvorova

Lyudmila Suvorova

About 10 million Americans are estimated to have osteoporosis and an additional 34 million are estimated to have low bone-density which places them at risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Although you hit your peak bone-mass early in life, usually around 20 years of age, there are simple changes you can make in your diet in order to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Here are some nutrients to know when it comes to planning a healthy diet to prevent osteoporosis.

It is no surprise that calcium is at the top of the list for foods that prevent osteoporosis but you may be surprised to know many Americans don’t consume enough of this important nutrient.  Though diary is an excellent source of calcium it's not the only one.  Tofu, dark leafy greens, sardines, canned salmon and calcium fortified foods like orange juice are other options.

Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and can be found in fortified milk, eggs and saltwater fish but the best and most bio-available source of vitamin D is sun exposure.  As you can imagine, our exposure to sun can be variable for many reasons. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels to determine is supplementation is right for you.

Sufficient protein intake is also important for bone health. Most Americans consume plenty of protein so don't worry about low intake but it is good to know that protein aids in both calcium absorption and rebuilding bone.

We all know a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to our overall health but colorful produce also provides nutrients like potassium which conserves calcium. Some fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium include bananas, avocados, orange juice, potatoes, winter squash and tomatoes.

Making sure you eat a balanced diet is important but it is equally as important to note some foods your should avoid to prevent osteoporosis.

Caffeine is on the list of foods to limit; research shows it can cause calcium to be excreted from the body. For a flavorful beverage try herbal teas, decaffeinated coffee and flavoring water with fruits and vegetables like cucumber or orange slices.

Too much salt in your diet can lead to urine calcium loss. Some sneaky sources of salt include processed meats, such as deli meats and hot dogs, frozen meals, canned soups and vegetables and baked goods. A great way to avoid excessive sodium is to eat real, unprocessed foods which means getting back in the kitchen and cooking up a healthy meal.

Try these simple recipes that include many of the ingredients and nutrients listed above:

Next Up

The Only Guide to Building a Charcuterie Board You'll Ever Need

Essential tips to planning a board your whole party will love — and lots of details about the best ingredients, tools and arrangement strategies.

What Is Bone Broth? Plus, How to Make It From Scratch

It has a number of nutritional benefits. And it’s surprisingly easy to make.

Building a Smarter Sandwich

Nutritionists share their favorite ways to build a healthier sammie.

Caption It: Summer Game So Strong

Learn how to deck out your summer cookout with easy crafts, and caption this photo of The Kitchen's co-hosts.

Buy Bone-In Cuts

Food Network Magazine loves boneless meat for fast weeknight meals, but sometimes bone-in cuts are worth the extra cooking time.

Live Music and Strong Cocktails at Rachael's Feedback

Get an insider's look inside Rachael's Feedback event during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

Finish Summer Strong with Labor Day Cookout Classics

Set up a day-off menu of sandwiches, pasta salad and more that's ideal for outdoor eating.

Good Eats for Better Bones

An estimated 44 million Americans are at risk for, or have, osteoporosis, a disease where our bones become increasingly fragile and sometimes fracture. Though women are 4 times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, men are affected as well. Exercise and some medications can help, but what you eat plays a vital role.

Spotlight Recipes: Bone-Warming Drinks

Come in from the cold and cozy up to these winter-warming drinks. With 200 calories or less per serving, these soothing bevvies are a guiltless pleasure.

How to Eliminate Fish Bones

Lay the fillet over an upside-down small bowl, then run your fingers over it to feel for bones. Pull them out with small pliers or fish tweezers, pressing down around the bone with your other hand so the fish doesn't tear.