Strong and healthy bones are crucial for overall wellbeing and mobility, especially as we age. Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone health, providing essential nutrients like calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutritious elements. First we need to explore the best foods for strengthening bones, supported by three delicious and nutrient-rich recipes that can contribute to optimal bone health.

Essential Nutrients for Bone Health:

Calcium: Calcium is a key mineral for bone health, providing the structural framework for bones and teeth.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and plays a crucial role in bone metabolism. Sunlight exposure for 15 minutes daily is advised.
Magnesium: Magnesium supports bone density and helps regulate calcium levels.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that works in tandem with calcium to build and maintain bone strength.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K aids in bone mineralisation and supports bone density.
Protein: Protein is essential for collagen formation, contributing to the structure of bones.

Best Foods for Bone Health

  • Dairy products: These are rich in calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus – and can include low-fat or non-fat dairy options like yogurt, milk, and cheese in your diet.
  • Leafy green vegetables: There are a range of greens abundant in calcium, Vitamin K, and magnesium. Munch regularly on kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli for a nutrient-packed boost.
  • Fatty fish: High in Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, fatty fish encompasses salmon, mackerel, and sardines and provides a bone-boosting factor in your diet.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts as a snack provide good sources of magnesium, phosphorus, and protein. Snack on almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds for a nutrient-rich crunch.
  • Whole grains: These grains provide magnesium, phosphorus, and some Vitamin K. Choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats as a foundation for meals.
  • Lean meats: These are a good choice in any meal. They supply protein, phosphorus, and some calcium. Opt for lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef for a protein boost.
  • Fortified foods: Often enriched with calcium and Vitamin D, these foods can include fortified cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and nutritional yeast.

Three Bone-Strengthening Recipes

Salmon and Quinoa Bowl
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 grilled or baked salmon fillet
1 cup steamed broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
Grill or bake salmon with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Steam broccoli until tender.
Assemble the bowl with quinoa, salmon, and broccoli. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.

Kale and Walnut Salad
2 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Massage kale with olive oil for a few minutes to soften.
Toss in walnuts, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Serve as a refreshing and nutrient-packed salad.

Yogurt Parfait with Berries
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
1/4 cup granola
Honey for drizzling
Layer Greek yogurt in a glass or bowl.
Add a layer of mixed berries.
Sprinkle granola on top.
Drizzle with honey for added sweetness.

Maintaining strong and healthy bones can contribute to the longevity and resilience of your skeletal system, and therefore essential for a vibrant and active lifestyle. These simple recipes are not only delicious but also incorporate bone-strengthening ingredients. You can also consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to tailor your dietary choices to your individual needs and lifestyle.

NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa)

NOFSA is the only non-profit, voluntary health organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health. We focus on reducing the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis while working to find a cure for the disease, and by supporting research and developing programmes of education and advocacy.

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