KEY NUTRIENTS FOR BONE HEALTH
Your key to achieving and maintaining bone health is eating a diet rich in whole foods that supplies a variety of key nutrients. The major nutrients are Vitamin D, Collagen and Calcium. In addition, there are a variety of other nutrients that are needed including magnesium, vitamins B, C, K1, and K2, boron, manganese, zinc, strontium, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid.
Sun exposure is the best way to naturally make vitamin D. Given that many individuals don’t get sufficient sun exposure, especially in the winter, eating foods included in the chart below daily will help. Wild caught fatty fish and organic products are the best option if affordable.
Calcium is another key nutrient for bone health. We all grew up learning that milk is a great source of calcium. Although it is a good source, many individuals cannot tolerate cow dairy and therefore need to find other ways to get their calcium. Below are some other food sources of calcium:
- Goat’s Milk
- Sheep’s Milk
- Non-Dairy Beverage (such as Almond Milk)
- We need 1000 mg daily which may be hard to obtain eating food sources alone. If you aren’t getting the needed amount, consider asking your health care provider about supplementation.
The other necessary nutrients are often found in dark, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Unfortunately, processing removes a lot of these vital nutrients, so it best to transition to a whole foods diet.
Vitamin K2, one of three types of Vitamin K we need, is critically important for bone health. It is made by the healthy bacteria in our gut so if our gut is not heathy we may be deficient. As a result, this deficiency may not insure optimum bone health from just eating the right foods. Good food sources of K2 include grass-fed dairy and eggs, fermented foods, goose liver pate, and certain cheeses like Brie and Gouda.
As always, you can get many of these foods grown locally. Simply check your local Farmer’s Market. With seasons changing, try to expand your palate with in-season fruits and vegetables. Get outside and enjoy the fresh Fall weather because this will help to insure you are doing your best to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Donna Bacchi, MD, MPH has over 30 years of clinical experience improving patient health and wellbeing using a broad-based approach. This approach focuses on the four pillars of wellness: nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction and mindfulness. She has lectured across the country on a variety of nutrition and public health related topics. A Southport, NC resident, Dr. Bacchi is on the Brunswick County Health Advisory Board and a co-chair of the Way to Wellness Initiative. She sees clients looking to improve their health by addressing the root causes using the four pillars of wellness.