Paying attention to your bone health is crucial for reducing your risk of degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis which can creep up on you over time without you even realising it.
Your bones might not be as strong as you think; in fact, if you’re not eating the right amount of certain foods regularly, you could be setting yourself up for weak bones and bone diseases down the track.
Studies have shown that many people consume less than half of the recommended nutrients to build and maintain healthy bones.
And this is why diseases like osteoporosis are so common these days, compromising the body strength, mobility and even the ability to perform simple daily tasks for millions of people.
The older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis because your bones naturally become less dense and less strong with age.
This is why it's so important to eat the right foods that support bone strength and to boost your ability to resist debilitating bone conditions throughout your lifetime.
Here, we highlight ten of the best plant foods for healthy bones. By eating more of these foods on a regular basis you will greatly reduce your risk of weak bones and bone related discomforts and diseases.
It's no accident that Celery looks just like the shape and structure of bones, similar to other stalky foods such as Rhubarb and Bok Choy.
Celery is an incredible food for supporting healthy bones because it contains around 21% of phytalitic or plant sodium - the same amount of sodium that your bones are meant to store and need to thrive.
Sodium ionises or converts into calcium in the body, meaning that sodium and natural salt are essential building blocks for strong, healthy bones.
With a crunchy texture and distinctive flavour, celery can be enjoyed raw in salads, or dipped into healthy nut butters, guacamole, hummus, or added as a base to soups, sauces and stews, particularly during the colder months.
Bananas are one of the best plant-based foods for healthy bones and for your health overall because they're loaded with potassium, folate and vitamin B6 - nutrients known for their bone strengthening properties.
Also, by eating potassium rich foods, your body is better able to absorb calcium.
If you don’t have enough potassium, calcium won’t be properly assimilated by your body and can easily be flushed out.
In other words, you can eat all the calcium rich foods and supplements in the world, but you still may suffer from bone issues if you’re not getting enough potassium in your diet.
Eating a banana a day is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a daily dose of potassium that your bones need for strength, not to mention the other wonderful benefits of eating bananas for energy and every day good health.
Beets are loaded with potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene and folate (one of the B-vitamins). These nutrients are know to help keep the heart healthy, bones strong and even to prevent cancer.
If you are concerned about osteoporosis or bone related diseases, include more beetroot in your diet.
Some great ways to enjoy beets include; adding them to your favourite raw juice recipes, steaming and cooling them before preparing a delightful beetroot salad with raw nuts, feta cheese and greens, baking them with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs, or grating them together with other vegetables to prepare your own DIY sauerkraut.
Learn more about why you should eat more beets in our blog 5 Incredible Health Benefits of Beets.
4. Bok Choy
Bok choy makes the list and not just because the white stalks look like strong bones similar to celery!
Bok choy is high in calcium, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and tons of minerals. There is also a significant amount of vitamin K found in bok choy, which aids in decreasing your risk of bone fractures
Even though Bok choy is a vegetable that resembles celery, interestingly it is actually a member of the cabbage family.
Bok Choy is a Chinese cooking staple which is best cooked very rapidly in a hot wok with a little sesame oil and fresh spices, usually enjoyed as an accompaniment to stir fries.
Another great way to enjoy Bok Choy is to coarsely chop it raw and add it to delicious home-made clear broth soups for extra crunch and nutrient density which your bones will love.
It might surprise you to see cauliflower on this list, but it’s one of nature's best plant-based foods for healthy bones.
Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and fibre; all nutrients that are known to protect against the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Cauliflower is also a very versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Steam it as an accompaniment to your main meal, drizzle extra virgin olive oil or dollop a little grass-fed butter on top with a pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper.
Alternatively, prepare a creamy cauliflower soup, or steam and mash it in place of mashed potatoes. Another option is to lightly whiz some cauliflower florets in a food processor with some fresh parsley to prepare a wonderful, low glycemic 'cauliflower rice' in place of regular, starchy white rice. This is a 'keto-diet' fan favourite.
For centuries among tropical cultures, coconut flesh and coconut oil have been regarded as medicinal foods, particularly due to their amazing antibacterial qualities.
Coconut is also rich in a host of vitamins, minerals that support healthy bone structure and it contains antioxidant compounds that help prevent bone loss due to hormonal changes.
Coconuts are especially high in manganese, are known mineral essential for bone health as well as the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.
Coconuts are also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.
Enjoy coconut raw as a delightful summer snack, or grate it onto yogurt, smoothies or fruit salads. Coconut is also a wonderful addition to healthy raw desserts or for grating on top of chia seed or oat pods for breakfast which have been soaked in coconut milk overnight.
If you're looking for bone-strengthening fruits, figs should be near the top of your shopping list.
Five medium fresh figs contain around 90 milligrams of calcium and other bone healthy nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
Figs are one of the most nutritious, edible fruits out there that are also very rich in fibre to assist the digestive system.
Enjoy ripe figs chilled and sliced over the top of fresh fruit salad, organic yogurt or prepare your own home made fig jam!
Parsley should be a dietary staple if you want to maintain healthy bones.
Fresh parsley is loaded with vitamin K, which is known to assist bones to get the minerals they need to form properly.
Chop fresh parsley into to your salads, salad dressings and cook with it as often as you can by adding it to sauces, soups and stews. Parsley is one of those herbs you can easily grow in the garden at home or in a pot on the window sill so that you always have it fresh and available.
In summer when Pineapples are ripe and in season, eat this tangy, juicy wonder fruit as often as you can to support your bone health.
Loaded with Vitamin C which is vital for reducing inflammation in connective tissue and joints, Pineapple also contains an enzyme called, "bromelain", which has been linked to decreased pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Pineapple is best enjoyed chilled, so once your pineapples have been ripened in the sun, remove the skin, cut into chunks and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Add pineapple to your favourite summer juice recipes, add to fruit salads, or simply enjoy as a sweet juicy snack any time.
Prunes are a rich source of potassium which as already mentioned, is an important mineral for a healthy heart and strong bones.
Potassium can also counteract the increased urinary calcium loss, typically caused by the processed food and high chemical sodium diets, helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.
Rich in Vitamin K, recent studies have found that eating prunes can preserve bone density in postmenopausal patients and is effective for helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Learn more in our related blog Foods to Prevent Osteoporosis & How to Get More in Your Diet.
Additional Foods For Healthy Bones:
Even though we've highlighted some of the most potent foods for supporting healthy bones, mother nature offers a range of additional 'bone-friendly' whole foods that should also be included in your diet regularly. these include:
- Mustard greens
- Sesame seeds
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains
Tip: try our Cornucopia Epicurean Snack for a bone-healthy blend of nuts, seeds, corn, spices, and sea salt.
The Main Take Away
Bone health is critically important if you want to stay mobile, agile and pain free in your body as you age.
With this in mind, it's important to pay attention to those foods that particularly support bone health due to their nutrient-rich density in key minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Help your body get the nutrients it needs to build and maintain strong, healthy bones throughout your life time, by eating a wide variety of the foods shared with you here, when in season.
When you do this, you'll go a long way to avoiding nutrient deficiencies that can easily lead to weak, fragile bones and chronic bone diseases.
Tolman Self Care.