You are What You Eat: Strong to the Bones


Did you know that 99% of your body's calcium is stored in your bones and teeth? This calcium makes up your bone bank. Calcium is "deposited" and "withdrawn" from your bone bank daily, based on your body's need for calcium. If your daily diet is low in calcium, calcium is "withdrawn" from your bone bank. Bone is broken down to keep your blood calcium level normal. This happens because calcium plays a critical role in supporting your body's vital functions; such as controlling your blood pressure and maintaining your heart beat.

Milk is the most common source of calcium. A single cup of milk; whether skimmed, low-fat, or whole; equals up to 300 milligrams of calcium. Yogurt is another great source of calcium. A cup of yogurt has as much calcium as a glass of milk. Sardines are another great source of calcium for your bones. Eating three ounces of canned sardines will give you more calcium than a cup of milk.

Vegetables provide tons of nutrients to your bones. One cup of turnip greens will give you 200 milligrams of calcium, and a half cup of cabbage provides calcium equal to an eight ounce glass of milk.

Nuts and seeds also can help your bones stay healthy. Peanuts and almonds contain potassium, which protects against loss of calcium. Nuts also contain protein and other nutrients that help build strong bones.

Fish such as salmon and other fatty fish contain various bone-boosting nutrients. These fish contain calcium as well as vitamin D. Fish oil has been known to reduce bone loss in elderly women and may even prevent osteoporosis.

If you plan to add more fish to your diet, make sure the fish has a low amount of mercury. Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system of people of all ages. Although research shows that most people's fish consumption does not cause a health concern, it has been demonstrated that high levels of methyl mercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.

  • Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Do eat up to 2 average meals a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten seafood that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

Cover Image by Freepik.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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