Bone Healing Foods ~ Health Guide

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Bone Healing Foods

Written by Mystic on Friday, January 18, 2008

Eat Your Way to Strong Bones

The main mineral in bones is calcium, one of whose functions is to add strength and stiffness to bones, which they need to support the body. To lengthen long bones during growth, the body builds a scaffold of protein and fills this in with calcium-rich mineral. From the time you're 11 until you're 24, you need about 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. Adolescent bodies are tailor-made to "bone up" on calcium. With the start of puberty, your body is at a higher capacity to absorb and retain calcium.

Bone also needs vitamin D, to move calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into bone. You can get vitamin D from short, normal day-to-day exposure of your arms and legs to sun and from foods fortified with the vitamin. Also needed are vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, as well as protein for the growing bone scaffold. Mother Nature provides many foods with these nutrients. One stands out, however, as almost a perfect package. Milk is rich in calcium and high-quality protein, and it has magnesium and zinc.

Still, as excellent as milk is for bones, it and other dairy products are not the only foods that contain calcium. All groups in the Food Guide Pyramid, in fact, offer calcium sources -- from the pyramid's grain-based foods that you need the most of, to the produce and high-protein groups in the middle, and even to the fats and sweets "use sparingly" group at the top. The importance of choosing calcium sources from the different food groups is that each group offers its unique package of other nutrients as well.

An easy daily plan is to drink a calcium source at every meal and eat one calcium food as a snack. The lactose (sugar) in dairy products unfortunately causes problems like gas, bloating or diarrhea.

Get Enough Weight-Bearing Exercise
Growing bone is especially sensitive to the impact of weight and pull of muscle during exercise, and responds by building stronger, denser bones. That's why it's especially important when you're growing a lot to be physically active on a regular basis. As far as bone is concerned, impact activity like jumping up and down appears to be the best. The important thing is to get off the couch and get moving at some activity. It really is a matter of "Use it now, or lose it later". Day-to-day activities that start in the teen years, like walking the dog or using stairs instead of elevators, can become life-long habits for healthy bones.

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