Our bones mean everything to us. We must nurture them for mobility, comfort and ultimately independence. Most of us are familiar with the idea that consuming Calcium is the best way to maintain our skeleton but do we know how to get the most of this important mineral?
Calcium maintains our bone’s structural integrity, but it does not work alone. Research has shown that our bodies are complex and require a network of vitamins and minerals to get the most from our foods. In order for our bodies to extract and utilize Calcium from food it’s best if it’s consumed with Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Magnesium.
Vitamin D is best found in fatty fishes like salmon, sardines and tuna but other great sources include cow’s milk, eggs and shiitake mushrooms. A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to malformations in the bone. In children it’s known as rickets, in adults it’s called osteomalacia. Vitamin D acts as a hormone to increase the amount of Calcium in the blood stream so it’s best to consume the two together.
Vitamin K and our bones have a complicated relationship but research has shown that a Vitamin K deficiency can lead to fractures in the bone. In fact, women who have experienced menopause and have subsequently noticed unwanted bone loss, can prevent future fractures by consuming Vitamin K.
Magnesium is a key mineral in human metabolism, working to create and maintain bone integrity. About 50% to 60% of a person’s Magnesium is stored in the bone so even a minor deficiency in this important mineral will show itself by way of bone loss. So, it’s imperative to have adequate intake for improvements in bone mineral density.
Now that we have a basic understanding of how these different elements work together, it’s important to know where you can find such nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not necessarily the best sources. In fact, fatty fish, green veggies and the right seeds may be all you need. Here is a breakdown of some of the foods that are richest in the nutrients needed for bone health: