Our skeletal structure is what holds us up, but what holds up our skeleton? Calcium, you say? Correct–but only partially. Did you know that the interior of a bone is made of collagen? So says Oxford Press’ Contributing Writer and Registered Dietitian, Holly Larson.
The teamwork between several nutrients creates the dense living tissue called bone. Collagen binds two minerals—vitamin C and copper–together. More than calcium. But, as we all know, calcium is highly important to make strong bones. But, then, so is phosphorus and magnesium.
Phosphorus and magnesium are both little known, but very commonly-occurring minerals in the body. Calcium is vital because it’s also required for muscle contraction. If your system is low on calcium, your bones will lose their calcium to supply it to the muscles.
However, a healthy diet will nourish your whole body as well as your bones. To get enough calcium into your body, eat low-fat dairy products, fish and dark green leafy vegetables. Collagen will form from foods rich in copper and vitamin C, so eat seafood, nuts, grains, organ meats, citrus fruits, bell peppers and strawberries.
Then, be sure to eat protein-rich foods to get phosphorus such as steak, fish, nuts, seeds, and beans. Add beans, spinach, oysters and…..get this….dark chocolate… (yes!) to your diet to get magnesium into your body. Remember it takes more than just calcium to make those bones healthy.
Strength training–weight lifting, lunges, and push-ups—which, by putting stress on bones, builds them up. Exercises such as walking, jogging, running and jumping also put that same type of “positive” stress on the bones to make them denser and stronger.
So, there is a lot more to strong bones than just calcium. And a lot more than calcium to make strong bones. But it’s not really “rocket science.” Mostly, just planning varied and nutritious low-fat eating. And doing some old-fashioned, common sense exercise. Eat right, exercise, and bone up.
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