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6 ways to eat your way to stronger bones

Calcium-rich foods are one key to building strong bones, but that doesn't mean dairy needs to be the centerpiece of your diet.
Foods for strong bones

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown for

This morning I wrote about a new study linking extra weight to poor bone quality in young women. So as not to dwell on the negative, let’s move on to ways to boost bone health—without adding any more dairy to the diet.

Calcium is still an important component of keeping bones healthy, of course, but it’s not a magic bullet. Scientists now know that other nutrients—like vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and the protein osteocalcin—also play a role in preventing low bone density and osteoporosis as we age.

Non-dairy foods such as almonds, olive oil, spinach, bananas and lentils all help promote bone health (not to mention healthy weight) because they’re high in one or more of these nutrients—and many also contain calcium. For a complete bone health strategy, try adding more of the following to your daily diet.

1. Olive Oil. A 2012 Spanish study found a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra olive oil was good for increasing osteocalcin, a protein in the body that’s been linked to higher bone mineral density.

2. Almonds. These nuts are a surprisingly good source of calcium—a one ounce serving contains about 80 milligrams calcium, or nearly a quarter of your recommended daily calcium intake (300-400 milligrams). Almonds are also high in magnesium, another mineral liked to strong bones.

Keep reading for more calcium rich foods…

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