The key to protecting your bones is to ensure proper nutrition so that bones can rebuild and maintain their strength. The plant-based diet provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals you need for keeping your bones strong and healthy.Minerals and Bone Health
Approximately 70% of your bones, by weight, are made up of minerals and with calcium and magnesium being the most abundant.
Calcium is the most essential mineral in the bones, playing a key role in bone structure. In combination with collagen to make 99% of bone tissue, calcium is needed to keep the bones strong. Plants high in calcium are broccoli, kale, collard greens, and okra. If you are having a hard time consuming enough calcium-rich foods, another option to consider is ½ cup per day of calcium-fortified juice or a dietary supplement.
Unfortunately, when it comes to understanding bone health, most stop at calcium. Magnesium is another very essential mineral for healthy bones because it encourages the body to absorb and transport calcium. In research, low levels of magnesium have been associated with fragile bones. Magnesium-rich foods include broccoli, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and spinach.
Trace minerals are essential for promoting healthy bones but are needed in a lesser amount as compared to magnesium and calcium. These trace minerals include boron, copper, phosphorous, silicon, strontium, and zinc. Silica helps to maintain a balance between formation and resorption by increasing the utilization of calcium and vitamin D. Strontium promotes normal bone formation while boron and phosphorus help to keep bones strong. Foods high in trace minerals are kale, vegetable broth, sea vegetables, and root vegetables.
The most current research suggests that protein is good for bones. In fact, those on a plant-based diet that eat protein-rich foods like beans have been associated with a lower risk of bone fractures. Besides beans, other protein-rich plant-based foods include tempeh, chickpeas, seitan, quinoa, and hemp seeds.
Vitamin C is critical for the production of collagen, which provides bones strength and structure. Plant-based foods rich in vitamin c are citrus fruits, red bell peppers, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
The body cannot effectively absorb calcium without vitamin D, which is necessary for strong muscles and bones. Mushrooms, kale, and vitamin D fortified almond and soy milk are great plant-based vitamin D sources.
Studies have revealed that vitamin K plays an essential role in controlling calcium, transporting it into the bones and out of the blood vessels and soft tissues. Plant foods high in vitamin K are turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, and green leaf lettuce.