The number one nutrient recommended to promote strong bones is calcium. Calcium is found mainly in dairy products. But if you don’t consume dairy products, will your bones suffer as a result?
Diet plays a significant role in maintaining strong bones, and key nutrients include calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and vitamin D. The good news is that you can still obtain these essential nutrients to keep your bones healthy and reduce your risk of osteoporosis without eating dairy.
There is a significant shift in society around dairy, and not just because many people are lactose intolerant. For example, Health Canada has recently revised its dietary guidelines and removed dairy as an essential component. There have been several studies showing that milk and dairy products may contribute to a higher risk of other health problems.
To ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of other bone-healthy nutrients, you need to consume a balanced, healthy meal that doesn’t necessarily require dairy products.
For starters, vitamin D is attained by being in sunlight, so getting adequate time outdoors can help. During the winter months, sunlight may be limited, so some supplementation is okay. Vitamin K is found in dark leafy green. You should also be mindful of your protein intake as consuming too much protein – particularly from meat sources – has been linked with a higher risk of bone fractures.
Along with consuming a healthy and balanced diet to improve your bone health, you will want to incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your routine.
If you’re worried that not consuming dairy is putting your bones at risk, don’t fret. As long as you’re consuming a balanced diet, getting adequate sunlight, and are regularly exercising, your bones can continue to stay strong for years to come.
- 15 bone strengthening exercises for strong bones
- Top calcium-rich foods for stronger bones (Hint: They aren’t dairy!)