4 foods to boost bone health

4 foods to boost bone health

It is well known that dairy is a good source of bone-building nutrients such as calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but what if you can't tolerate it? These 4 other surprising foods can positively affect bones.

Human studies have found that post-menopausal women eating about 100g of prunes a day (about 10 prunes) plus daily supplements of 500mg calcium and 400IU (10mcg) vitamin D have improved bone mineral density. It seems the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of prune polyphenols reduce osteoclast production. But if 100g of prunes affects your bowel function too much, 50g a day may be more practical. Prunes also contain small quantities of the following bone nutrients: calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, boron and vitamin K.

2) TEA
Animal studies reveal tea polyphenols,  especially from green tea, have positive effects on bone: higher bone mass, increasing bone formation and inhibition of bone resorption, all resulting in greater bone strength. Short-term clinical trials in postmenopausal women indicate 500mg green tea polyphenols (equivalent to about 4 cups of green tea a day) boosts alkaline phosphatase, a bone formation biomarker. As with prunes, it may be tea’s antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects that impact on oxidative stress and bone formation.

3) SOY
A lack of oestrogen postmenopause is one cause of reduced bone mineral density and increased osteoporosis risk. Soy isoflavones supplements, at 75—80mg or more a day, and soy foods such as tofu, soy milk and fermented soy beans, appear to have benefits on bone. Soy foods are naturally low in calcium but rich in phosphorus so look for calcium-precipitated tofu or calcium-fortified soy beverages.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fish and nuts and these have unexpected impacts on bone health.
Olive oil polyphenols may help prevent bone loss by increasing the deposition of calcium in bone. Having 5 to 7 fish meals a week has been seen to significantly increase vitamin D intake and bone mass. Nut intake may also be associated with bone health, but results are mixed. Oily fish is a source of fat-soluble vitamin D and nuts contain a number of bone-building nutrients including protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

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