Suggestions for strengthening your diet in the new year

While many meals are great for bones, others work against them by stealing calcium and leaving them brittle and weak.

Need to be fed to gain mass and density in order to fend off osteoporosis and avoid (or reduce the danger of) fractures. While many meals are great for bones, others work against them by stealing calcium and leaving them brittle and weak.

While calcium is often associated with strong bones, meals high in calcium-absorbing minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and boron, as well as abundant stocks of vitamins D, C, and K, are essential for maximizing bone mass and calcium absorption.

In order to avoid orthopedic surgeons and cast rooms in the new year, here is a list of foods from both land and sea that you should embrace, avoid, or eat in moderation.

The best of the best

When were little, cow’s milk and other dairy products were the recommended sources of calcium for developing strong bones and teeth. Health professionals now advise varying your dairy intake by choosing hard cheeses—such cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss—over fresh, soft cheeses like cottage, ricotta, and mascarpone. Hard cheeses have the highest calcium content.

Mix in some mouthwatering yogurts and kefir drinks, which are probiotic and calcium powerhouses that improve immune system and digestive health in addition to bone health.

If you’re not a fan of cow’s milk, try goat dairy in all its forms, which is far more delicious and easily digested. You may also choose from a wide variety of plant-based dairy products that have calcium levels that are comparable to those of animal dairy.

Happy green giants

With their mother lode of minerals, especially calcium, dark leafy greens—from bok choy, endive, and kale to arugula, bok choy, and broccoli—outrank spinach, Swiss chard, and endive.

The latter problematic trio, which also includes magnesium, vitamin K, and calcium, is also high in infamous oxalates, which bond to calcium and other trace minerals and draw them out of the body, causing absorption problems and maybe even deficits over time.

Even though Popeye got his power from spinach, his bones weren’t as strong as they would have been if he had eaten more leafy greens high in oxalate.

Start your day with a kale and banana smoothie to get your metabolism going, and end it with a one-pot miracle that includes young bok choy and garlicky wild-caught shrimp.

A delicious fish kettle

Nutrients for bones and joints, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, are abundant in oily fish. Wild-caught canned salmon has soft, edible bones that may be mashed with the fish and your choice of herbs and spices, giving it an extra calcium boost.

Good things may also be found in little packages. Sardines, for example, are coated in olive oil and include calcium-rich bones. They can be dressed up or down, served on toasted baguette or mixed with linguini, fresh fennel, and tangerine zest.

Lemon law

To increase the creation of collagen, the fibrous protein that functions as nature’s rebar and provides structural support to bone tissue as well as skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, follow Linus Pauling’s lead and eat a diet high in vitamin C.

Tropical fruits like pineapples, mangoes, guavas, papayas, and persimmons; Australian imports like golden kiwis and Kakadu plums; citrus fruits like blood oranges, mandarins, Meyer lemons, and limes; cantaloupes and honeydew melons; and black currants, strawberries, cherries, lychees, and mandarins are all included in the A list of C foods.

To satisfy savory palates, cruciferous vegetables—especially broccoli and Brussels sprouts—as well as red and orange peppers are good sources of vitamin C.

Details and components

Nuts and seeds contain chemicals called phytates that leach minerals from the body, even though they are rich in calcium and other elements that can boost collagen formation and bone density.

Almonds, walnuts, sesame, and pumpkin seeds have high quantities of phytates, whereas pistachios, chestnuts, and macadamias have the lowest.

Soak the nuts and seeds overnight in a solution of water with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice, then filter to lower the amounts of phytic acid and moderate mineral loss.

Figure it out

Scoop up this fresh, calcium-rich California treat in the summer and fall when they’re in season, or purchase dried figs all year long.

Add some flair to charcuterie boards, mix them into quick breads, scones, salads, and spicy chicken recipes from the Mediterranean, or serve them whole as a convenient snack.

Note: Despite their moderate oxalates content, figs are still a delicious way to enhance bone density.

Get working

The yolks of eggs are the only parts of the food that naturally contain a significant amount of vitamin D. Therefore, for better calcium absorption, skip the egg-white omelets this time and eat a yolk instead.

Other delicious foods that deserve honorable mentions include avocados, prunes, peaches, apples, and pears, which are rich in boron, which strengthens bones, and garlic, which is packed with allicin, a sulfuric chemical that increases the absorption of calcium.

Frequent exercise is just as vital as eating right. A holistic health professional should also be consulted for bone-protective vitamins.