There are plenty of foods to choose from when it comes to supporting joint and bone health with specific nutrients. However, there are some that stand out because they have synergistic nutrients packaged together.
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients. Apart from containing all of the essential amino acids they are packed with micronutrients. Amino acids are the building blocks of hormones and enzymes. Eggs are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and zinc. In addition, they contain cholesterol that is a vital nutrient to health and not to be feared when eaten as part of a healthy, real food, varied diet. Cholesterol is required for Vitamin D and sex hormone synthesis. Eggs have bone health nutrients packaged together in a convenient, affordable form and can be used in a multiple of different ways to provide delicious meals!
Yoghurt is definitely one of our top choices for calcium-rich foods. It is pretty well established that dairy products contain plenty of calcium, but some of them are not well tolerated. For example, many people have issues with the milk sugar lactose. In yoghurt, the lactose has been fermented and converted over into lactic acid (what gives yoghurt the sharp flavour, so people with mild lactose issues are generally fine with yoghurt). The fact that it is cultured gives it an added boost as it helps to support digestive health by supporting the gut flora. Good plain full-fat natural yoghurt (not the sugar-laden atrocities that dominate the supermarket shelves) contains roughly 285mg of calcium per 150g serving!
Full-fat Cheeses & Dairy
For those that choose to eat it, having good quality full-fat cheese in your diet is valuable. Why full fat? Well, within the fat lies a vitally important fat-soluble vitamin. That is vitamin D of course. Take away the fat, you take away the vitamin D. Cheese does have a reasonable amount of calcium too.
Oily fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring)
Oily fish represents one of the most important groups of foods in a healthy diet. From cardiovascular health to neurological health, and everything in between, the health benefits of oily fish are wide-reaching. In terms of bone maintenance, they are important for general nutritional support. Firstly they are probably the richest dietary sources of vitamin D. There aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D at any level that is potentially significant if someone is deficient, but oily fish is one of the few that will deliver a reasonable amount. Some oily fish, such as sardines and anchovies, are eaten with bones providing calcium as well as vitamin D. Oily fish also contains the bioavailable form of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are important in the management of any inflammatory condition as well as supporting pain. We recommend eating oily fish 3-4 times a week.
Seeds make a great snack and are a concentrated source of calcium, magnesium and the all-important mineral zinc. They are also high in oxalates and hence the calcium component is less absorbable. They should be included as part of a healthy diet rather than relied upon as a sole source of calcium. Zinc and magnesium are co-factors in 100’s of enzymatic reactions and 2 minerals that are often deficient in people’s diet. A deficiency will detrimentally impact bone health.
Greens are without a doubt the absolute kings of magnesium-rich foods. This is due to the chlorophyll. This substance is very similar to human haemoglobin. It consists of 4 proteins bound together. In human haemoglobin, each of these protein units has iron bound to it. In chlorophyll, the iron is replaced with magnesium. The darker and richer the green the more chlorophyll is in it, which means more magnesium. Fill up on these dietary powerhouses as much as is feasibly possible. Broccoli is a particularly important food as it is dense in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K and zinc.