35 of the Best Foods for Strong Bones

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Got kale? There’s more than one way to build strong bones. As we age, we are at higher risk of bone loss, but having healthy, strong bones is important at any age. Luckily, a healthy diet full of certain kinds of foods — including kale and other cruciferous vegetables that are a high in calcium — can help prevent bone loss and keep our bones strong.

24/7 Tempo compiled 35 of the best foods for building and maintaining strong bones. These foods contain significant amounts of one or more of the nutrients essential to bone health. Here are the 14 most common nutritional deficiencies.

According to Harvard School of Public Health, osteoporosis contributes to 2 million fractures every year. Maintaining bone density becomes increasingly imperative as we age, as our bodies begin to lose bone mass. This is especially crucial for women after menopause.

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for building and maintaining bones. If you don’t eat enough calcium, your body will pull calcium from your bones and teeth to perform its daily functions, leading to decreased bone density.

Some key players in calcium absorption are vitamin D and magnesium. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food. While it’s not found naturally in many foods, the body makes it when it’s exposed to sunlight, and it is commonly added to dairy products. Magnesium is essential in converting vitamin D into the active form needed to turn on calcium absorption.

Other nutrients crucial to bone health are vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and zinc. Limiting soda, alcohol, and caffeine consumption can help maintain bone health, and lifestyle choices such as spending — limited — time in the sun and performing weight-bearing exercises are also critical. Here are 30 reasons walking is the best exercise.

To determine the best foods for strong bones, 24/7 Tempo selected foods naturally high in the vitamins and minerals known to support healthy bones, focusing on whole foods rather than supplements or enriched products.