When you work out, it’s not just your muscles that grow stronger. Your bones also benefit from weight bearing exerciseOpens a New Window.. But it’s not all about what you do at the gym. You can build denser, more resilient bones and joints by supplementing your diet with the right foods. Here are the best options to eat for stronger bones.
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Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. They work together to build strong bones. One cup of milk provides 30 percent of your daily recommended amount of calcium and 25 percent of vitamin D. Add milk to your morning smoothie or daily protein shake; you can even drink chocolate milk post-workout to boost muscle recovery.
Fish with small, edible bones, like sardines and canned salmon, provide a stellar source of calcium and even some vitamin D. Sardines come with an added bonus of providing heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, too. Top your favorite bed of greens with canned sardines or salmon.
Tofu made with calcium sulfate can provide about 15 percent of your daily recommended amount of calcium. The amount of calcium can vary between brands, so read the nutrition facts panel before purchasing. Use silken tofu in smoothies or extra-firm for a quick weeknight stir-fry with vegetables.
Magnesium plays a role in building up firm, healthy bones. Nuts, like almonds, are an excellent source of magnesium with 1 ounce (about 23 almonds), providing 19 percent of the daily recommended amount. Almonds also provide calcium—roughly 7 percent of the daily recommendation.
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5. Fortified 100% Juice
If you’re not a huge milk drinker, you can get a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D through fortified juices like orange, grapefruit, and pineapple juice. Read the label to make sure you’re getting 100% juice; and, for more bang for your buck, make sure both calcium and vitamin D are added. Juice can be part of a healthy eating plan and help you get the daily recommended fruits servings per day, just limit portions to 1 cup per day.
6. Breakfast Cereals
Many breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which work together to keep your bones strong. Make sure to read the label to be sure your cereal contains these important nutrients. Enjoy a bowl of cereal with milk, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese to pump up your calcium and vitamin D intake.
Adequate intake of potassium can benefit bone health. Tomatoes, fresh or canned, are a top source of potassium. One cup of cherry tomatoes provides 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium. Add fresh tomatoes to an omelet, use tomato sauce in chili, or enjoy a spicy tomato salsa over fish or chicken.
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8. Cottage Cheese
One of the most underappreciated dairy foods is cottage cheese. One cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 14 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium. It also contains a whopping 28 grams of protein to help build strong muscles. Enjoy cottage cheese topped with fruit, in a smoothie, or even blended into a dip (the cottage cheese becomes nice and creamy).