Weak and brittle bones… so brittle that even bending over can cause a fracture.
I’m talking about osteoporosis, a condition that affects many men and especially women who are past menopause.
According to the International Osteoporosis Association, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporosis fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50 worldwide.
Genetics, high sodium and caffeine intake, smoking, vitamin B12 deficiency are all possible causes of osteoporosis.
While medications can help, there are side effects associated with drugs like bisphosphonates. So while you can drug yourself up to treat the disease, what if you can improve your bone health with diet, which is more natural and cost-effective?
And the best way to do that is to include more calcium and vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Both calcium and vitamin D play an important structural role in maintaining bone health and strength.
As a side note, while it is not clear how much of an advantage plant protein has over animal protein in terms of bone health, plant foods are less acidic, tend to have less methionine, and is less IGF-promoting (elevated IGF-1 levels may be linked to cancer).
Given all the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits associated with plant based foods, we’d suggest you stock your pantry up with these top 7 plants foods that can potentially improve bone health, rather than reaching for that milk…which can lead to acne, hormonal imbalance, etc.
We all love our kale. Not only is kale high in protein, vitamin A, C, K and iron, kale is also high in calcium that is absorbable given its low oxylate levels. Coupled with its high vitamin K content, this green is ideal for your bone health.
Only a few leafy greens are high in absorbable calcium given their oxalate levels. For instance, even though we love spinach, beet greens, chard and rhubarb, the calcium content in these vegetables are not absorbed well, according to studies.
Good sources include non-oxalate (see below) dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spring greens, cabbage, bok choy, parsley and watercress.
Watercress is another non-oxalate dark green leafy vegetable that is high in calcium . According to Watercress UK, gram for gram, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas.
We love our broccoli. Not only does broccoli support our body’s detox process, broccoli contains a strong combination and ample supplies of both vitamin A and K which can help regulate our vitamin D metabolism, improving bone health.
Broccoli is also a good source of absorbable calcium.
Other awesome non-oxalate green vegetables that are high in calcium include spring greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, cabbage, bok choy, parsley and okra.
#4: Non GMO-Soy Products
Calcium fortified non-dairy milk (i.e. soy milk), calcium-set tofu, and tempeh are all good sources of calcium. It is a great idea to supplement your diet with these foods if you’re not eating enough (say 3 servings) of the aforementioned dark leafy green vegetables a day.
#5: Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain phytate, a naturally occurring compound. Contrary to popular belief, studies showed that people who consumed more high-phytate foods had stronger bones and concluded that dietary phytate consumption had protective effects against osteoporosis.
Almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are all great sources of calcium.
#6: Dried Figs + Plums
Fruit continue to surprise us! These little baby figs are packed with antioxidant, fiber, and calcium. Great as mid-day snacks! And don’t forget your dried plums too!
#7: Blackstrap Molasses
While I don’t like the taste of blackstrap molasses as much as coconut nectar, this natural sugar is filled with calcium, iron, and vitamins… and guess what they’re rumored to help prevent grey hair!