Food Topics

A Skeletal Domain: How to Care for Your Bones

Skeletons are scary, but poor bone health is scarier. Here’s how you can avoid it.

It’s Halloween, which means it’s time for spookiness. And what is spookier than skeletons? Whether you’re someone playing Dark Souls for the first time and going the wrong way, or watching old horror movies like Army of Darkness, skeletons are pretty scary. However, inside of you there is one rivht now. But don’t freak out yet, because that’s a good thing. The real horrors come when you don’t take care of this skeleton.

There’s a lot of diseases that can happen with bones. Some common ones are arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia (aka soft bones). These conditions make living harder than it could be, with many people suffering from arthritis pain being unable to do activities they once enjoyed, or people with osteoporosis being more prone to fractures.

What you choose to eat can affect your overall bone health. Two of these nutrients are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is one of the mineral building blocks that helps to keep your bones hard. Vitamin D has a role in calcium absorption. For more information, you can read about vitamin D here.

Foods that are high in calcium include dairy products like milk and cheese. Additionally, fish that contain bones in them also have calcium. However, these are both animal products, and are not vegan or vegetarian friendly if that is what diet you follow. Instead, leafy green vegetables like kale, mustard greens, and broccoli are high in calcium. Foods that are high in vitamin D are fortified milk, and fatty fish. For vegans and vegetarians, many products are also fortified, such as cereals and non-dairy milks. Additionally, your body can make vitamin D from sun exposure, but many people live in areas of the world where this is not necessarily doable. Take for example the Pacific Northwest, where we get like, maybe seven minutes of sun if we’re lucky.

Another factor to consider is the amount of phosphorus in foods. While it is another necessary “ingredient” for bone health, certain studies have linked higher consumption of phosphorous, especially from soft drinks, to weaker bones. The main theory is that it causes an imbalance of phosphorous to calcium, which leads to weaker bones. For more information, you can read about it here.

In summary, your skeleton is an important part of you since it gives you structure. Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients to get to maintain or improve your bone health. Foods that contain calcium and vitamin D come from fish, dairy, and leafy green vegetables. Soft drinks might play a role in weakening bones because of the amount of phosphorous they contain.

Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Don’t let the ghoulies and goblins bite!

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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