Fitness Tips: April 27, 2015

If you think of your body as a building, your bones are the framing. Without strong bones the whole thing would collapse, so keep them strong and healthy.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Bone-building Nutrients
It's possible to eat your way to stronger bones. Protect yourself with these bone-building nutrients.

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients with which to bone up. The best choices for calcium include fat-free plain yogurt, fat-free or low-fat milk and cheeses, calcium-fortified tofu, soybeans, white beans, collard greens, kale, broccoli, and almonds.

Vitamin D
Calcium relies on vitamin D to help it travel to the parts of the body that need it. Your body can make vitamin D with the help of sunlight, but in the interest of protecting your skin, you'll want to get most of your vitamin D from food and supplements. The best sources are fatty fish including salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines; milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat), soy milk, yogurt and egg yolks.

Magnesium helps your body neutralize metabolic acids, absorb calcium, and maintain strong bone structure. Get magnesium from pumpkin seeds or quinoa as well as from millet, brown rice, spinach, Swiss chard, artichoke hearts, cashews, tempeh, sweet potatoes, beans, sesame seeds, flaxseed, and wheat germ.

Many fruits and veggies contain significant quantities of potassium and other nutrients that contribute to bone health. Keep your bones strong by eating cantaloupe or apricots in addition to honeydew melon, papaya, bananas, plums, prunes, raisins, avocados, artichokes, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, beans, almonds, and pistachios.

Vitamin C
Eating strawberries, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, guava, pineapple, raspberries, mangoes, lychees, persimmons, bell peppers, hot chili peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, rutabagas, tomatoes, summer squash, and other fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamin C enables your body to produce collagen, a protein that contributes to bone strength and integrity.

Soy Protein
To give your bone mineral density a protein boost, try incorporating high-quality soy foods like soybeans, tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, soy flour, soy cheese, enriched/fortified soy milk, soy yogurt, and soy crisps into your diet a few times each week.

In addition, one of the best ways to build and maintain healthy bones is through exercise. Weight-bearing exercises stimulate bone formation. Bones put under moderate stress respond by building density. Like muscles, bones should be used regularly or they will deteriorate.