Eating lots of nutritious food is essential as part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also necessary to know what each part of your body requires in order to stay healthy. For example, eating foods with high protein content helps to build muscles, like lean beef, cheese, eggs, fish, and whole grain. Foods for healthy skin include dark chocolate, tomatoes, olive oil, kale, and water. On the other hand, your bones need a healthy balance of vitamin D and calcium in order to stay strong. Calcium provides proper body function and healthy teeth, but this mineral can only be absorbed by the body with vitamin D. So, without vitamin D means calcium can not be used by the body, and thus, no strong bones. Especially important for the growing youth and older adults, strong bones require certain foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, which is exactly what I’ll be addressing today. Here are the 9 best foods for strong bones.
Foods Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
Certain Types of Fish
Sardines, salmon, catfish, and tuna all have high levels of vitamin D which is perfect for absorbing calcium. Fish like salmon and tuna also have omega 3 fatty acids, which is actually a very healthy type of fat the body needs that can help prevent heart disease. Sardines is the healthiest food on this list, however, since it also carries calcium along with providing vitamin D. A typical can of sardines (3.75 ounces) provides 35% of your daily required calcium and 44% of your daily required vitamin D. On the other hand, a three ounce serving of salmon has 100% of your daily required vitamin D while a three ounce serving of tuna has about 40%. Other types of fish with calcium include cod, trout, and herring. Also shrimp, which counts as seafood, has a high amount of calcium as well.
You probably already know that milk is chock-full of calcium, 30 percent of your daily required calcium in one cup to be precise. But it’s also super convenient since you can purchase milk fortified with vitamin D at the store, so this is a quick food for building strong bones. What’s more, there are even breakfast cereals that are fortified with calcium so you can reach your daily intake even faster. If you are lactose intolerant, you could always try lactose free soy milk or almond milk.
Yogurt, just like milk, can also come fortified with vitamin D and is a great source of calcium. One serving (8 oz.) can provide up to 30% of your daily recommended calcium and 20% of your necessary vitamin D. Yogurt is also delicious and addicting, which is perfect for a healthy snack you can enjoy. You can also add granola and fruit for the ultimate parfait.
Cheese happens to be made out of milk, which means you’ll be getting lots of calcium with each serving. Just one and a half ounces of cheddar cheese has more than 30% of the calcium you need but you’ll still need some vitamin D in your diet for strong bones. But what’s great about cheese is that you can add it almost anywhere, put some in your salad, eat it with crackers, or add a slice into your sandwich. American cheese, Swiss cheese, Parmesan, Mozzarella, almost all the types of cheeses have high levels of calcium in them.
Not only can milk and yogurt come fortified with vitamin D, but there are tons of foods in your supermarket that include lots of nutrients. Especially breakfast foods, lots of foods that you can eat in the morning can come fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients. That’s because they know that breakfast is the most important meal of all and is the start of a healthy day. Look for orange juice, and breakfast cereals for starters.
If you haven’t tried tofu yet, you are missing out on an incredibly nutritious food. Tofu is made out of of the curd of mashed soybeans and have absolutely no dairy in it whatsoever. Primarily used in Asian cooking but also embraced in the vegetarian community, calcium has lots of calcium per serving. It’s also a great source of protein too, which what you’ll need for strong muscles.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also a great source of calcium. For example, half a cup of almost gives you about 12% of your daily calcium needs, while other nuts also have protein which helps for stronger muscles. But almonds aren’t your only choice, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazlenuts, and sesame seeds all have calcium in them too.
Eggs contain both vitamin D and calcium. The yolk, however, is the place where you’ll get your vitamin D, so if you’re trying to only eat the whites, you probably won’t get strong bones by only eating eggs. One egg has about 6% of your daily required vitamin D and about 27 mg of calcium.
Dark, Leafy Greens
You might find this surprising but some types of vegetables have calcium as well. This is mainly referring to dark, leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, kale, collard greens, and lettuce all have healthy amounts of calcium, especially kale and spinach. Other vegetables that aren’t so leafy also have calcium, although they will have to be consumed raw in order to get the maximum nutritional content. Broccoli, okra, and cress are just a few.
Besides eating foods rich in vitamin D, you can also stay in the sunlight to get the nutrient necessary to absorb calcium. No kidding, being in the sun for just 10 to 30 minutes a day can give your body all the vitamin D it needs, which is why it’s important to exercise.