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5 essential nutrients for bone health where to find them

Bones protect the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs from exterior elements that can harm them. They are also responsible for the body structure and movements. 

essential nutrients for bone health like milk and cheese etc
essential nutrients for bone health like milk and cheese etc

Your bones make up approximately 15 per cent of the total body weight. Did you know that the femur bone (thighbone) is the heaviest, longest and strongest one? 

The bones remodel throughout your life. It is a continuous process that takes approximately four to eight months in which the old bones resorb, and new ones form.

Therefore, to keep the bones healthy and strong, you must have the right nutrients.

In this article, we’ll discuss the five essential nutrients you need to improve your bone health and the foods that can supply them.


It’s an established fact that calcium is the main building block of bones. 

Calcium makes around 1.5 to 2 per cent of total body weight. Bones stores about 99% of calcium, and the remaining 1% is in blood, muscles, and other tissues. 

When the calcium levels drop in the blood, the deficit amount is released by bones into the bloodstream to avoid deficiency. 

This table will help you learn about the amount of calcium you require:

AgeRecommended calcium intake
Aged 14 -18 years1,300 mg/day
Aged between 19 – 50 years1,000 mg/day
Aged above 51 years1,200 mg/day
Pregnant and lactating women1,000 mg/day

For Women

AgeRecommended calcium intake
Aged 14 -18 years1,300 mg/day
Aged between 19 – 50 years1,000 mg/day
Aged between 51 – 70 years1,000 mg/day
Aged above 71 years1,200 mg/day

For Men

The body does not make calcium. So how do you get this essential mineral? Here is a list of foods that can provide ample calcium:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Edamame (soyabean ki phaliyan)
  • Winter squash (kaddu)
  • Almonds
  • Leafy greens (spinach, mustard, & kale)
  • Eggs 
  • Calcium supplements


Protein is a vital nutrient that helps in the formation of bone structure. A protein-rich diet can also aid in absorbing calcium and reducing the risk of bone diseases.

Sufficient intake of this macronutrient helps minimize the recovery time of damaged bones. A few food options that can deliver an adequate amount of protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Almonds
  • Oats
  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Fish


Along with calcium and protein, magnesium is another nutrient important for healthy bones. It helps in maintaining bone mineral density and also benefits in the following ways:

  • Aids growth & repair of bones
  • Help the formation of vitamin D
  • Decreases the risk of inflammatory protein
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Minimizes the risk of calcium loss 

Some dietary sources of magnesium include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Dry fruits
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Yoghurt
  • Bananas

Vitamin D – The sunshine vitamin

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and a hormone that helps absorb calcium for healthy and strong bones. 

It is considered a hormone because the kidneys produce it when your skin is exposed to proper sunlight. Therefore, it is termed the sunshine vitamin.

The following tips can help you to meet the required amount of vitamin D and improve your bone mineral density:

  • 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure several times a week – between 10 AM & 3 PM
  • Add vitamin-D rich foods to the diet (egg yolk, mushroom, soy milk, orange juice, & cereals)
  • Green vegetables (spinach, kale, & soybeans)


Approximately 85% of total phosphorus combines with calcium, and they go hand in hand to keep the bones healthy.

It is the second most abundant mineral and is approximately one per cent of the total body weight.

Some good sources of phosphorus include:

  • Dairy products
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts 
  • Whole grains
  • Amaranth and quinoa
  • Beans and lentils
  • Soybeans

Final thoughts

The above-mentioned five nutrients can help improve your bone health, make them strong, and minimize the risk of bone diseases. 

Besides, a bone strength test can help you learn about the health of your bones, allowing you to take necessary measures to enhance their health.

Linda Barbara

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