When we refer to the term health, we mainly refer to the concept of the body, which is free of all illnesses. However, health is also synonymous with getting the proper nutrition so that organs and other essential body elements, like bones, can function as needed. Though bones give us structure and strength, lack of adequate nutrition can cause them to degenerate and affect our quality of life. A healthy, well-balanced diet will help build and maintain healthy bones. 

The Right Food For Strong Bones 

Himanshi Sharma, Sr. Dietitian, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, shares various dietary factors that lead to healthy bones include the following:

  • Vitamin D and K: Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common reasons for inadequate bone health among many people. Get morning sun rays for 10 minutes to fulfil your need. If you are diagnosed with a deficiency, take supplements only as prescribed by a registered medical practitioner. Dietary sources of these micronutrients include soymilk, dark green leafy vegetables, fermented foods like cheese, and soybean products.
  • Eat lots of vegetables: Include as many vegetables as you can. Green vegetables, yellow and red bell peppers are the richest source of vitamin C and act as antioxidants. They not only help in case of nutrient deficiency but hydrate us too. Inculcate a habit of eating vegetables during both lunch and dinner. Developing this habit during childhood will help create healthy bones in young adults and older adults.

  • Calcium is the key ingredient: When it comes to bone health, calcium is an essential mineral. It is advisable to get calcium naturally from foods rather than supplements unless it is a case of deficiency. Sources of calcium include non-dairy products such as leafy vegetables, fishes like sardine, salmon, milk, cheese, and yoghurt. 
  • Do not avoid healthy fats: Fats are not always harmful; some are important for healthy bones. Include omega 3 and 6 fats, which can be sourced from salmon, mackerel, tuna fishes, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, fox nuts, and mustard oil. Healthy fats help in the formation of new bone and prevent bone loss.

  • Limit caffeine intake: It is not advisable to drink more than 3 cups of coffee or tea every day as doing so may interfere with calcium absorption in the body and cause bone loss. Avoid drinking coffee and tea straight after or along with meals. 
  • Have enough protein: Maintaining enough protein intake is essential for healthy bones. Good protein sources include pulses, legumes, beans, peas, nuts, egg, chicken, fish, tofu, milk and milk products. 
  • Avoid alcohol, packed and processed foods: All such foods contain extra salt that may cause bone loss. Do you know that alcohol can lead to bone loss too?