Most of your bone growth occurs before the age of 17, but your body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone throughout your lifetime. Because of this, it is important to regularly consume foods that contain the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to maintain the health of your bones.
Calcium and Phosphorus
It comes as no surprise that calcium makes the list of vitamins and minerals necessary for bone health. Calcium and phosphorus bind together to create a structure called hydroxyapatite, which your body uses to create new bones when old bone is broken down. Without adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus, your body would not be able to make hydroxyapatite, and any newly formed bone would be weak and susceptible to breakage. Dairy products, broccoli and canned salmon are rich sources of calcium. Dairy products also provide phosphorus, as do meat, poultry and fish.
Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus in your digestive tract, according to “Nutrition and You” by Joan Salge Blake. Without vitamin D, your body would not be able to absorb calcium or phosphorus, regardless of the amount of those minerals you consumed. You can meet your vitamin D needs by eating salmon, yogurt and fortified milk. Your skin also can synthesize vitamin D with exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Vitamin C is vital to the growth and development of all of the tissues in your body. Your bones need adequate amounts of vitamin C for repair and new growth. The best sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, such as mango, papaya, kiwifruit, pineapple, berries, watermelon, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage.
Vitamin K acts as a coenzyme, which is a substance that allows chemical reactions to take place. Specifically, vitamin K elicits a chemical change in osteocalcin, a bone protein, which enables osteocalcin to bind to calcium. This process helps in the creation of strong bones. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that vitamin K can reduce the risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women who are at risk for osteoporosis. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus and vegetable oils are rich sources of vitamin K.
- Nutrition and You; Joan Salge Blake
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: Bone Health
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