Ten Foods to Help Build Strong Bones and Muscles


Eating correctly is more than just controlling your weight. You need to consume the right combination of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep all systems in your body working properly. Furthermore, eating right will keep your bones and muscles strong and healthy.

It’s easy to get caught up on the fat and calories in the food we eat to the point where we don’t consider how that meal will affect our bodies as a whole. Did you know what nutrients were in your last meal? How will that meal help keep your body’s structure strong?

Build strong bones

As we age, our bones become more fragile and muscles become weaker, but a nutritious diet now can help preserve bone and muscle strength. For strong bones, your body needs two essential nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium strengthens bones and teeth, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium while improving bone growth.

Adults should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D every day. If you’re over 50, aim for 1,200mg of calcium and 400-600 IUs of vitamin D per day.

Although calcium and vitamin D can be taken through supplements, it’s best to get them from a natural diet. Here are five foods that are excellent for healthy bones:

1. Yogurt is a great option. Most yogurts are packed with vitamin D, and depending on the brand, you could get 30 percent of your daily calcium intake from yogurt.

2. Milk is often a go-to for kids, but many adults don’t drink it. Just 8 ounces of fat-free milk provides 30% of your daily calcium needs. You can also buy milk that’s fortified with vitamin D for even more benefits.

3. Salmon and tuna are not only good for your heart, but they’re also beneficial for your bones! Just three ounces of sockeye salmon contains more than your full daily dose of vitamin D. Tuna is another excellent source of vitamin D, although it doesn’t contain quite as much as salmon (just about 39 percent of your daily dose).

4. Eat your greens, especially spinach! Just one cup of cooked spinach contains 25 percent of the daily recommended dose of calcium. It’s also packed with fiber, iron, and vitamin A. If you can’t stand the taste of spinach, make a fruit smoothie and add a handful of fresh spinach. You won’t even notice it!

5. Certain foods like store-bought orange juice and cereals are enhanced with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and calcium, to help build strong bones. Check the labels before purchasing to ensure that the food will be beneficial.

Strengthen your muscles outside the gym

Strength-training workouts are awesome for building muscle strength and stamina, but your muscles also require proper nutrition—or what you do in the gym won’t make much of a difference. Just like your bones need vitamin D and calcium, your muscles need protein to stay strong and healthy.

According to the CDC, women need about 46 grams of protein each day, while men require about 56 grams daily. In general, 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from protein. If you’re looking to stay lean, the more protein the better. Protein builds muscle and muscle burns fat.

Five of the best sources of protein are:

1. If you want to get the most benefit from meat, stick to chicken, pork, and lean cuts of red meat instead of a big, juicy steak.

2. Fish, like salmon, is an excellent lean protein source. Eating salmon for dinner will give you the added benefit of strengthening both your bones and muscles!

3. Greek yogurt doesn’t have calcium or vitamin D like regular yogurt, but it is full of protein. In fact, one cup of plain Greek yogurt has around 24 grams of protein! Keep the calorie count low by adding fresh fruit or nuts to plain Greek yogurt for some added flavor.

4. Eggs are an essential part of breakfast. Although you can reduce the number of calories by eating egg whites only, the yolk contains nutrients that are beneficial such as calcium and protein.

5. Nut butter is perfect when you need a protein-packed snack on the go. Slice up an apple and spread your favorite nut butter on top for a tasty and uncomplicated snack.

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