The path to healthy bones and joints is through a healthy diet. The major nutrients required for healthy bones are calcium and vitamin D. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C can help prevent and soothe inflamed joints. While dairy is a well-known source for bone health, it is not an option for many people’s diets these days. Add these 4 non-dairy superfoods to your diet that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, omega-3s, and vitamin C to improve the overall health of your bones and joints.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
We know that calcium is one of the major nutrients for healthy bones, but what isn’t talked about much is the absorption levels contained in different foods. While leafy green vegetables have a lower percentage of calcium than milk, they actually have higher absorption levels.
For example, a glass of milk may contain more calcium than a cup of spinach, but your body can absorb almost twice as much of the calcium by eating the spinach rather than drinking the milk. So if you’re trying to avoid dairy products, then try some leafy greens like spinach, kale, bok choy, and collard greens.
2. Oily Fish
Oily and fatty fish contain high levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is chocked full of omega-3s, and the high levels of vitamin D will also aid in the absorption of calcium. Canned salmon is a great option since the small bones containing calcium are included in the fish when it’s first canned. Don’t let this scare you though, because most the bones are small enough that they dissolve while sitting in the can.
There are fish oil supplements available to get these important nutrients like omega-3s, but adding fish such as salmon to your regular diet will also provide countless other health benefits in addition to bone strength. Some alternative fish options are sardines and mackerel, which also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Different nuts provide different types of nutrients that are great for bone and joint health, but some of the more concentrated ones include almonds, brazil nuts, and walnuts. Almonds are a sort of super-nut, because not only do they contain high levels of calcium, but they are also rich in many other vital nutrients.
If you’re not a big fan of fish, then walnuts are a fantastic alternative to receive those important omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts each contain high levels of magnesium, brazil nuts containing the most. Magnesium is an important nutrient because it works closely with calcium to increase absorption levels.
Edamame holds a high content of the necessary daily nutrients to keep your bones healthy. It contains calcium, magnesium (which helps in absorbing the calcium), and omega-3s. The nutrients found in edamame will not only increase bone strength but help aid in preventing bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
Not everyone can include dairy in their diets, so it’s important to look for alternative sources to get the nutrients needed for healthy bones and joints. Try eating more dark leafy greens, oily fish, nuts, and edamame. These four superfoods will strengthen your bones, reduce joint inflammation, and help prevent bone-related diseases.