We rarely think of our bones until we are injured and we break one. Since our bones are the frame for our bodies, it makes sense that we eat so as to nourish our bones and keep them strong, so that we can engage in the activities of daily living.
If you have experienced a fracture, chances are, you will survive with little or no permanent damage especially if you are young, you are eating a healthful and balanced diet and the fracture is a simple one.
As We Age
When we are young bone health can be taken for granted, but, as we reach middle-age, or become overweight or menopausal, and the fracture is a compound fracture, we may still recover, but it might take more time, we may need surgery to repair the fracture and, it may just be a sign of a more serious condition called osteoporosis. This condition is brought about by serious nutritional deficiencies in calcium, Vitamin D and trace minerals, such as, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Anatomy Of Bones
First off, our bones are not solid. They are very strong, but, they are not solid. Think of bone matter as kind of a net where the holes can be filled with molecules of calcium, protein, and trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc.
The richer your diet is in calcium, the more of the holes in the net get filled up and the result is that the bone is denser, sturdier and in the event of every day wear and tear, the body can get the necessary building blocks for building new bone from the food you eat.
Also, please remember that when we stretch and lift things, like groceries and bags of groceries from the shopping cart to the trunk of the car and from the trunk of the car up the porch steps into the kitchen and onto the kitchen counter; or when we engage in strenuous activities, such as jogging, running, or weight lifting, or even just swinging a toddler or a pre-school aged child onto our hip while carrying a heavy purse – we jar our bones and this results in minute fractures.
Proper Nutrition For Bones
If your diet is rich in calcium, Vitamin D, potassium, magnesium and zinc, repair of these small fractures is routinely accomplished by our bodies.
However, because most of us consume a steady diet of junk food and processed foods that are high on taste (salty and sweet), but, low in vitamins and minerals, our body has no material with which to repair the small cracks and fractures that our everyday activities cause to our bones.
If you look at an x-ray of a bone of a person that has vitamin and mineral deficiency, you will see that the white bone has flecks and spots of black on it – the black flecks and spots are empty spaces where calcium should be deposited.
One other complication of nutritional or vitamin deficiency occurs when the body has to use the very little calcium in the body to build bone. The body usually takes the calcium away from the heart and the teeth.
The heart needs calcium because calcium works to plug in small tears in the arteries and blood vessels.
Teeth become brittle and prone to cavities when the enamel is not plugged up with calcium.
Best Foods For Bone Health
Foods Rich In Calcium
• Whole milk is rich in calcium, as are eggs.
• Spinach and other dark, green leafy vegetables are also rich in calcium.
• Surprisingly, sardines and salmon are also rich in calcium (when you eat the bones, that is).
• Broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus are high in protein and are a good source of calcium as well.
• Trace minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and zinc bind to the calcium and coat it so that the calcium adheres better to the bone mass. Yellow colored fruits and vegetables such as bananas, melons, squash, papaya, apricots, and, yes, potatoes are rich in these trace minerals.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone health because Vitamin D helps our body process and store the calcium we take in from the food we eat. Without Vitamin D, the calcium in the food we eat will not be processed or stored by our body.
• Vitamin D is best obtained from sunlight, but, some fatty fish are rich in Vitamin D as well. The good news is that Vitamin D can be taken as a supplement—this is really good news for people who live in areas where there is very little sunlight.
Your best bet for bone health is still a balanced diet that is based mainly on fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, lean fowl and meat.