It has long been said that consuming calcium-rich milk and dairy products was of the most significant importance for healthy bones. Although they are indeed an essential source of this valuable element, we know today that it is also found in plants. In addition, plant products are a source of other ingredients important to our bones.
A diet that promotes the maintenance of healthy bones and reduces the risk of diseases that weaken them (including osteoporosis) should contain the right amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins (mainly D and K ) and proteins. Their source is not only meat, fish, and dairy products. Ingredients that have a positive effect on bones are also found in plant foods.
What plant products should be included in the menu to ensure the excellent condition of our bones? Selected plants are listed below, which provide a good source of ingredients of particular importance in this regard.
As much as 99% of calcium is found in teeth and bones. It is one of the major components involved in bone metabolism. Besides, it has many other functions – it is responsible for the proper contractility of muscles, and it is involved in the process of vasodilation and the secretion of hormones. Calcium deficiency leads to the development of rickets in children and osteopenia (early stage osteoporosis) and osteoporosis in adults (associated with an increased risk of fractures). Calcium-rich plant products include, for example:
The source of calcium is also fortified plant products – vegetable drinks and tofu.
Magnesium increases the absorption of calcium in the bones. In addition, its adequate supply is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles. Magnesium deficiency has an adverse effect on calcium absorption, leads to joint problems, and causes increased nervousness and excessive sleepiness. Among the plant products rich in magnesium, the following can be mentioned:
Vitamin K is involved in the production of bone-building proteins and the metabolism of bone tissue. It plays an important role in the transport of calcium. Its deficiency leads to decreased bone density; therefore, people with osteoporosis should increase its consumption and/or supplementation. Vitamin K also plays a vital role in blood clotting and the prevention of ischemic heart disease. The rich sources of vitamin K include, among others:
Both deficiency and excess protein can be harmful to your bones. Therefore, it is essential to precisely determine the individual needs of our body for this ingredient. Its source can be animal products (meat, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products) and plant products. Fish (especially fatty sea fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel) are also a source of other ingredients necessary for bones – omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. In turn, plant products rich in protein are:
Other ingredients that positively affect bones include omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants. A rich source of these ingredients is fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, pips and seeds, and whole-grain cereals.
Many delicious dishes can be prepared using plant-based products rich in components essential for bones.
A diet with a positive effect on bones and lowers the risk of osteoporosis should contain adequate amounts of calcium, vitamins D and K, protein, magnesium, zinc, potassium, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants. It is worth remembering that the source of these valuable ingredients is also plant products, such as green leafy vegetables, pulses, whole grains, vegetable oils, nuts, pips, and seeds.
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