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When you think about foods that strengthen bones, you immediately think of calcium and vitamin D, but do you know of the other nutrients bones require?
The basic structure of bones is laid down by protein and collagen, around which calcium acts as a building block.
Other nutrients that continually contribute to the formation of new bone cells and prevention of loss of existing ones include magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, fluoride, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, B vitamins, manganese, boron, iron, zinc, and copper. (1)
Homemade Drinks to Strengthen Bones
Here are some juices you can try to keep your bones healthy and strong.
1. Prune and pineapple juice
Prunes (dried plums) are commonly consumed for their laxative effect and ability to ease constipation. They also contain potassium and vitamin K and have been identified in several studies to have a beneficial role in bone health.
In postmenopausal women, regular consumption of prune improved bone mineral density and had a protective effect on bones. (2)
Bromelain, the main bioactive compound in pineapple, has been known to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and plays a role in collagen formation within the bone.
Animal studies have identified bromelain to prevent cartilage (soft bone) loss and reduce inflammatory substances. (3)
You can prepare fresh juice at home by blending half a cup of prunes with 1 cup of fresh pineapple. Strain and drink for strong bones.
2. Orange juice
Orange juice is the single most widely consumed fruit drink. It is rich in vitamin C, which plays a role in collagen formation.
Commercial orange juice is also fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and surveys have found people who consumed this juice had strong bones. (4)
However, this benefit has been observed in fortified juices, and there is a chance such drinks contain high amounts of added sugar. Therefore, if you plan to consume fortified orange juice, always read its nutritional label.
3. Mixed berry juice
Berry consumption (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry) is positively associated with overall health. Blueberry, in particular, is abundant in beneficial compounds and its consumption can increase the formation of new bone cells.
Additionally, the antioxidants in berries can protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the effect of age-related bone loss. (5)
4. Green juice
Green juice prepared from a leafy green vegetable such as spinach can be very beneficial for bone health. It contains some amounts of calcium and vitamin K, both of which are needed to develop strong bones. (6)
You can also add a cup of brewed green tea to your green juice as it is known to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures (due to weak bones) in the aging population. (7)
5. Milk and other dairy drinks
Everyone knows how important milk is for good bone health. It is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, which can prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.
Fermented dairy products such as kefir and yogurt also help in the formation of new bone cells due to their probiotic content. (8) These fermented drinks are also suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
A Word of Caution
Bone health is not solely determined by a few foods. It is a sum of many things including the intake of a healthy well-balanced diet rich in nutrients and low in processed foods and added sugar. Exercise also plays a strong role in strengthening bones. (9)
For this reason, the suggested drinks above should not be the only bone-building sources in your diet.
Can I rebuild my bone density?
Yes, with the inclusion of foods rich in bone-healthy nutrients and performing strength training exercises, bones can be strengthened.
What are some of the foods good for bones?
Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt can provide the necessary calcium and vitamin D. Tofu, beans, lentils, and meat provide protein, which is needed for collagen production. Fruits and vegetables (such as those mentioned in this article) provide the minerals involved in the creation of new bone cells.
For people with lactose intolerance, fermented dairy products such as yogurt and laban (fermented buttermilk) can be good alternatives. They can be combined with fruits such as berries to make smoothies. (10)
People with lactose allergies must avoid the consumption of dairy altogether.
Eating the right foods is important for bone health. They provide the body with all the necessary nutrients (beyond just the popular calcium and vitamin D) that are involved in the creation of new cells, preventing the loss of bone mineral density, reducing the risk of fractures, and maintaining strong bones.