How to Make Bones Stronger

Add herbal foods to your diet for stronger bones. These eight herb-rich dishes can help you eat more calcium and other nutrients vital to bone health.

| August/September 2011

  • Make a bone-boosting parsley pesto for a late-summer pasta dish. Find the recipe below.
    Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison

With every bite, you have a precious opportunity to build better bones. And that forkful can be delectable, thanks to enticing culinary herbs. All of the delights of the summer’s herb garden can flavor foods that can help keep you standing tall and strong—no matter what your age or gender. Once you learn the basics of bone-building foods, you can get daily nutrients you need while enjoying gourmet herb flavors. While no single recipe below can provide all of the nutrients needed to maintain bone health, each one can provide some of your daily requirements.

Foods For Bone Health: 8 Recipes

Horseradish Yogurt Cheese Spread
Emerald Herb Tossed Salad
Tangerine Tango Dressing with Dark, Leafy Green Sauté
Herb-Feta Chopped Salad
Herb & Smoked Gouda Quesadillas
Herb Flower Buds Ricotta with Rotini
Lavender-Hibiscus Grapefruit Granita
• Parsley Presto Pesto 

What is Osteoporosis?

If you have osteoporosis, a condition in which bones are brittle and weak, bone health is especially concerning. But everyone can benefit from strong bones. “While postmenopausal women are more at risk, everyone should be concerned about building strong bones,” says Jill Ryan, spokesperson for the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).

Essential Nutrients for Bones

When it comes to keeping bones strong, you must consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily, plus 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D. (Adults age 50 and older: 1,200-plus mg of calcium and 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D.) Many medications and health conditions can impact bone health, so consult your health practitioner about your specific requirements.

Good calcium sources include low-fat or non-fat dairy products, dark leafy greens, broccoli and more. Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, is found in few foods. Foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D include breads, cereals, pastas, juices and soy milk.

Here are other important nutrients for building bones with a few suggestions of dietary sources:

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