Besides lending heart benefits, protecting against breast cancer, improving brain health, foods like olive oil rich in monounsaturated fat can also help to strengthen bones, according to a recent study.
During the study, a team of Spanish researchers examined 127 men between the ages of 55 and 80. The men who ate a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil displayed higher levels of osteocalcin, a known strong and healthy bone marker, in their blood.
“The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models,” lead author José Manuel Fernández-Real, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement. “This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans.”
Soy foods are protein-rich, dairy-free ways to up your calcium intake. The average adult needs about 1,000 milligrams of this essential nutrient every day, where about a half-cup serving of tofu fortified with calcium contains about 25 percent of that.
Most adults need about 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day, according to the National Institutes of Health. A three-ounce serving of sockeye salmon clocks in at nearly 450 IU, a can of sardines contains 178 IU and three ounces of canned tuna totals about 70 IU.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient to build strong bones. A number of breakfast options, including cereals, come fortified with a punch of vitamin D. For maximum bone benefit, look for a cereal brand with at least 10 percent of your recommended daily intake, CookingLight.com suggests.
Just like olive oil, nuts are rich in healthy fats and part of the typical Mediterranean diet, although the new study found a stronger relationship between healthy bones and a diet enriched with olive oil than a diet enriched with nuts.
Vitamin K “enable[s] certain bone forming proteins to do their job,” Sarah Booth, Ph.D., director of the Vitamin K Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston told Women’s Health. Eating more of this vitamin, found predominantly in foods like kale, spinach and Swiss chard, is linked to a lower risk of hip fracture.
Bananas are a well-known potassium gold mine, but don’t often make lists of foods for healthy bones. However, at 422 milligrams for a medium fruit, they’re not to be ignored.
Fortified Orange Juice
Your favorite brand probably makes a variety of OJ fortified with both calcium and vitamin D, which can give your bone health a morning boost. Studies have also shown that orange juice in general might help the body absorb calcium, Health.com reported.