As you grow older, you start to appreciate the decisions made earlier in life. When it comes to health, your bones shout the loudest.
Human bones develop maximum density in the early twenties, and from there bone loss can occur if you do not take good care of yourself. As you age, the risk of arthritis, osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions increases. Fortunately, there are lots of foods that are great for maintaining healthy bones and keeping bone loss at bay.
Best Foods For Your Bones And Joints
According to the National Health Service, a good diet is one of the major factors affecting bone health in addition to exercise and avoidance of risk factors. Such foods need to be rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are universally known for promoting bone health.
- · Foods rich in calcium – Daily products like milk and cheese are one of the most common sources of calcium. Others include: green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and okra; nuts, of which the best are almonds; fish with edible bones such as salmon and pilchard; as well as foods that are fortified with calcium like soya milk, flour, and cornmeal.
- · Foods rich in Vitamin D – Vitamin D does not occur naturally in many foods and is usually synthesized by the skin from sunlight. However, some foods like oily fish, eggs and fortified foods can provide some vitamin D from the diet. Spending some time in the morning sun is still the best way to get some quality vitamin D though.
Tip: Some greens contain a high amount of oxalates that inhibit the absorption of vitamin C so that while they have it in plenty, they do not make very good sources. These include spinach, beets, swiss chard, and kale.
Best Foods For Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition that can cause debilitating joint pain. The good news is, diet is one of the major control factors that can help with most types of arthritis. The best foods for arthritis include the following:
- Fatty fish – These are fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. They contain high amounts of omega-3 oils that are great for reducing inflammation.
- Garlic and ginger – These two super foods have been shown to have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Those who take garlic and ginger regularly can expect up to 30 percent reduction in joint pain within a few weeks.
- Green tea, dark chocolate – An unlikely combination, but one rich in antioxidants that helps alleviate joint pain.
- Fruits and vegetables – These are also common sources of antioxidants and other compounds that help reduce inflammation in the joints. They include apples, cherries, broccoli, swiss chard, spinach, and other leafy veggies.
- Virgin olive oil – This has been shown to prevent the development of arthritis and helps reduce further inflammation. That is due to its richness in oil and fats similar to fish, which gives it anti-inflammatory properties.
- Whole grains – Eating whole grains has been shown to reduce the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a marker of rheumatoid arthritis. This means that whole grains also have a direct anti-inflammatory impact in the body.
What Foods Are Good For Bone Healing
In general, bone and joint health can be judged on a few points. These include bone density, bone strength, and bone elasticity. When either of these is compromised, the bones are susceptible to fracturing and breaking
A broken bone requires a lot of calcium, vitamin D and protein for healing. These you can get in plenty from these foods:
- Fatty fish – These have featured in this article before and for good reason. They are excellent sources of calcium (if they are bony), omega-3 oils and protein. They are also one of the few sources of naturally occurring vitamin D.
- Dairy products – Again, these have featured before due to their high calcium content. They provide the body with the raw material it needs to create new bone material.
- Leafy greens – Apart from being excellent sources of calcium, they also help with the absorption of vitamin D.
- Eggs – Another source of naturally occurring vitamin D, as well as excellent sources of protein.
- High-calorie foods – These include nuts, butter, avocados, whole grain bread, and others. Believe it or not, a healing bone takes up a lot of energy, up to 6000cal per day against 2200cal per day for a healthy adult.
Foods That Increase Bone Density
As the body ages, the bones slowly lose density through the loss of calcium. This gradually leads to a condition called osteoporosis, which is characterized by brittle bones that fracture and break easily.
To prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis, these are some of the foods that you can add to your diet for good bone density.
- Salmon – When eaten with the bones, salmon has one of the highest calcium content. Combined with the high level of proteins and omega-3 oils, salmon is your bones’ best friend.
- Milk – For the same reason why milk is great for bone development; high calcium content.
- Nuts – Almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds are the best in this category. They are rich in proteins, calcium, and magnesium and work wonders for healthy bone and joints.
- Fortified whole-grain foods – These include cereal, baked goods among others. Check the labels to make sure that they are fortified with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D for healthy bone.
Nature has provided us with a wide range of foods necessary to maintain bone health. However, sometimes conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis will affect us regardless, and for these, there are natural remedies that can help with the pain and to heal the bones and joints.
These are typically foods in calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 oils. Besides, eating foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds such as fruits and leafy greens help with arthritis in the joints.
We are what we eat, after all.