A healthy skeletal structure is crucial to helping us to do … well, everything. From our teeth, ribs, toes, spine, legs and arms, to the bones that make up our skull, we need them all in strong working condition to perform daily tasks. This means that we need to do all we can to keep them healthy.
And while many vitamins and minerals that can help in the overall health of your bones, there are two that stand out above the rest: calcium and vitamin D. We need calcium to support our bones and teeth, whereas vitamin D is needed to help absorb the calcium to promote healthy bone growth.
So, what are good sources of calcium and vitamin D that will help keep your bones healthy and strong?
To help answer that question, her are six foods for healthy bones.
You have no doubt been told since childhood that “milk does a body good,” and that you should drink it for strong teeth and bones. Well, what you were taught all those years ago still holds true.
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt contain that all-important calcium. In fact, one serving of each of these foods will give you up to 30 percent of your daily need. And with many of these items being fortified with vitamin D, you have a double dose of the good stuff.
2. Beef liver
Speaking of cows, it isn’t just calcium that they produce that helps our bones. Inside a cow’s liver is that calcium absorbing substance of vitamin D. In one serving size (81g), you get 7 percent of your recommended daily vitamin D.
3. Dark, leafy greens
Well, if you’re wondering where those cows get all that calcium, look no further than those heaps of green plants they feed on all day. And since grass isn’t a food we humans typically eat, we have our own that is a little more palatable and chock full of calcium.
Dark, leafy greens, particularly kale and collard greens are not only extremely healthy, but are high in calcium. For instance, one cup of cooked collard greens has 266 mg — a quarter of the amount you need in a day
Salmon is a food many go for to add those all important healthy fats, but most often look past its other benefits — like vitamin D. One ounce of wild sockeye salmon will give you over ⅓ of your daily vitamin D. Furthermore, a research team from Boston University found wild salmon to be the top Vitamin D Source compared to farmed. So, head over to your local fish market and grab yourself some of the wild stuff.
5. White beans
Beans like the navy bean, great northern, white kidney bean are all examples of white beans, and they all have benefits for bone health. And just like their milky white dairy friends, these beans pack a big punch when it comes to calcium, giving you 49 percent or 484.8mg of calcium per serving.
Mushrooms are the only vegetarian food that can make vitamin D naturally. This is because ergosterol, which is the pro-vitamin contained within mushrooms is converted into vitamin D2 when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This process is much like what happens when your skin absorbs vitamin when exposed to the sun.
Keep in mind, however, the mushrooms must have been exposed to UV rays to contain vitamin D.
Oh, the incredible, edible egg is so good for you in oh, so many ways. It has vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, protein. And to make it on this list, it had to have both calcium and vitamin D — which it most definitely has!
In one large egg there are 41 international units (IU) of vitamin D and 28mg of calcium. Keep in mind that if you want to just eat the whites, you will only be getting 2mg of calcium and absolutely no vitamin D as most of the bone healthy nutrients are contained within in the egg’s delicious, creamy yolk.