Eating for enjoyment and with an awareness of nourishing every system in the body matters year-round. In November, the Osteoporosis Society of Canada takes the opportunity to encourage reflecting on whether nutrient needs for strong bones are being met or not.
In thinking about nutrients for bone health, calcium and vitamin D are best known, yet a complete and well-balanced diet approach remains the optimal strategy for getting all of the bone-boosting nutrients. Magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, fluoride, boron, copper, other trace minerals and vitamins including A, B, C and K all play a role.
Plant-based eating is the ideal way to eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods. However, as many opt to move away from traditional dairy sources of calcium like cow’s milk, yogurt and cheese, it’s important to ensure adequate amounts of non-dairy calcium and other bone-boosters make a regular appearance on your plate.
As illustrated in the photo, leafy greens like kale along with collard greens and Swiss chard are sources of calcium. Broccoli, oranges, seaweed, almonds, sesame seeds, black-eyed beans and calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages like almond milk also contribute.
One source of bone-boosting nutrients that is often forgotten is dried plums. Also known as prunes, dried plums typically only come to mind for their role in digestive health and regularity for being a source of fibre. Eating ~5 prunes supplies about 100 calories, similar calories to one serving of other fruit such as an apple, banana or handful of grapes. Prunes are naturally sweet yet have a low glycemic index. In recent bone health studies, eating one daily serving of about five California prunes (40 grams) has shown to help slow bone loss (particularly in post-menopausal women). Definitely worth adding to your regular meal or snack rotation in your total approach to strong bones and a healthy body.
For great recipes featuring prunes: californiadriedplums.org.