According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones.
What to do: “Don’t wait to protect your bones,” says Laura Kelly, a doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, and coauthor of The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook (Chelsea Green, 2016). “The disease process may start to manifest at age 30. You still have good levels of estrogen at this age, so your efforts to preserve bone through exercise and diet can be more impactful.” Still, you should take protective steps regardless of your age.
“Preserving bone health requires getting combinations of certain nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and trace minerals, such as boron and silica, among others,” Kelly says. “Think about what foods you’ll eat over the course of a day that will supply each of these nutrients.”
Also, ask a functional medicine practitioner to test your nutrient levels and genetics to find out what nutrients you’re getting enough of for bone health and what’s more challenging for you based on your genetics, Kelly says.
What to eat: For vitamin D, Kelly suggests vitamin D–enriched mushrooms, as well as D3 supplements and sun exposure; for calcium, eat raw kale, cooked collard greens and raw milk from licensed farms; for vitamin K2, eat pastured eggs, Gouda cheese and natto (fermented Japanese soybeans), also available as a powder to mix into foods; and for magnesium, eat sprouted pumpkin seeds and nuts.