The 6 Best Foods for Stronger Bones

There’s no getting around it: As you age, bone density decreases, where your risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and injury go up. So, that’s why it might be harder to hit the HIIT workouts or lift heavy dumbbells in your twenties and thirties than later in life. (And that’s okay—as long are you’re staying active through lower-intensity work and fueling your body, you’ll be in tip-top shape.)

However, you can also build stronger bones by eating the right foods, those that are rich in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin D to strengthen bones and muscles and repair damage post-workout. 

For bone health in particular, calcium and vitamin D work together to prevent osteoporosis and slow the body’s natural decline in bone density—so you’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough foods containing these vitamins and minerals and supplementing when needed. (Though always ask a doctor if you should take calcium or vitamin D supplements before popping any pills!)

These are the top foods to choose from. And a bonus? They’re delicious, too!

senior group eating healthy meal

You'll Also Like: If You're Over 50, Here's Why You Should Be Eating More Protein

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is high in calcium and vitamin D, which promote strong, healthy bones, and it also has a good dose of protein to keep your muscles happy, too. Go for an unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt to keep sugar low, or try a Skyr variety, which also has excellent calcium content and provides the same gut-friendly bacteria as Greek yogurt to improve digestion and better your overall immunity. 

Leafy Greens & Cruciferous Veggies

Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens, as well as cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, all are high in calcium to boost bone density. 

Plus, they’re low-calorie and low-carb, and they don’t have sugar, so they work well for filling you up fast (you can eat a large volume as long as you don’t get GI distress) and being a super diet-friendly food. Use in smoothies, stir-fries, salads, side dishes, and more. 

spinach

Salmon 

This tasty orange fatty fish has a ton of vitamin D and offers a nice amount of calcium to improve bone density. (A tip? If you’re eating canned salmon, eat the bones—they are edible and offer more nutrition!)

You can spread a Greek yogurt sauce on top for double the benefits, or you can enjoy simply grilled with a squeeze of lemon, olive oil, and some greens on the side. Go for a kale or spinach salad, as those green leaves provide lots of calcium for better bones!

Tofu 

Soy is also rich in calcium, so feel free to add tofu to an egg scramble in the morning or drink soymilk over almond milk, which is rich in calcium and vitamin D (plus you can get a vanilla or chocolate flavor—both are delicious!). Another option? Snack on edamame for protein-packed midday fuel at work, as edamame will hold you over for hours and benefit your bones. 

Cheese

Yes—oh, cheese, an excellent source of calcium that tastes oh-so-good when melted on grain-free pretzels or when used in a sandwich or as a salad topper. Cheese is incredibly versatile and as long as you don’t have an intolerance or allergy (or IBS, where cheese might trigger flare-ups), it’s an easy way to get enough calcium in during the day. 

cheese

Eggs

Grass-fed eggs are fortified with vitamin D, so here’s yet another reason to enjoy eggs any time of day. Breakfast? Go for an omelet or egg sandwich. Snack? Try hard-boiled eggs. Lunch? Add to a salad. Dinner? Well, go for “breakfast for dinner,” and whip up an omelet or quiche again. 

Plus, they have choline and protein to fuel your brain—so not only will your bones feel stronger, but also your brain will be a whole lot sharper. 

In addition to eating these foods, prioritize strength training 2-3 times a week. Resistance training will increase bone density and help you get in shape to avoid injuries and falls as you age. It doesn’t matter how much you’re lifting—every bit will count, so start where you need and work to progress in time.

You'll Also Like: If You're Over 50, Here's Why You Should Be Eating More Protein

 


Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.


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