When it comes to building strong and healthy bones, two key nutrients are critical to success: calcium and Vitamin D. These two nutrients work with each other and play vital roles in maintaining strong and healthy bodies.
Many studies show that low calcium intake is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates. Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones because your body requires it to absorb calcium.  A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone loss, lower bone density and a higher likelihood to break bones with age. Whether you’re a meat-eater, vegan, vegetarian or dairy-free, there are plenty of foods choices that can provide you with these two powerful nutrients.
So what foods can help fortify our bones to keep them strong and healthy? Here’s the list:
- Dark, leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens, such as kale, arugula, watercress and collard greens are perhaps the best non-dairy sources of calcium. Here is a breakdown of percentage of daily calcium value per cup of various greens: Watercress (12%) Kale (14%), Dandelion Greens (10%), Turnip Greens (10%), Arugula (6%).
- Salmon: A 3-ounce piece of salmon contains more than 100% of your vitamin D. Also, canned salmon includes the softer, edible bones of the fish, meaning it’s loaded with calcium.
- Cheese: Cheese is made from milk, which is loaded with calcium. A mere 1.5 ounces of cheese contains 30% of your daily calcium requirement, but cheese can be very fattening, so for a healthy alternative try cheese made from skim milk.
- Yogurt: Yogurt actually beats out milk with a whopping 42% of your daily calcium intake per eight ounce serving.
- Almonds: A one ounce serving of this nut provides 80 milligrams of your daily intake of calcium, and comes with other health benefits like lowering blood sugar levels and helping decrease cholesterol.
So there’s the list! Now make your grocery list and be sure to add some of these foods to your diet and be on your way to building strong and healthy bones!
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 Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, Dallal GE (1997). “Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older”. N. Engl. J. Med. 337 (10): 670–6.