Northside Hospital - What foods do you recommend to help build strong bones?

What foods do you recommend to help build strong bones?

Q&A with Elyse Krawtz RDN, LD, Outpatient Dietitian at Northside Hospital

Bone is made with collagen that is hardened—or “mineralized”—with calcium phosphate. This combination makes bones durable to withstand stress.

The following foods help build strong bones:

Seeds: Poppy, sesame, chia, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. These provide minerals like phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, or zinc.

Use a variety of seeds to get a variety of minerals. Try making a “seed mix” to store in the fridge and use as a topping for salads, oatmeal, or smoothies--or grab a handful for a snack.

Fish: sardines or canned salmon with bones provide vitamin D, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and protein.

Sardines are easy to use and inexpensive. Chop and toss in pastas or salads. They taste great in legume-based pasta dishes with sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, lemon, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Canned salmon makes lovely salmon-burgers or fish cakes.

Dairy products or calcium-fortified plant-based dairy products provide magnesium, potassium, and protein

Not all plant-based dairy has protein. Choose options made with legumes like peas or soy for higher protein options. Unsweetened yogurt can make an easy protein at breakfast or a snack (or a creamy tzatziki sauce for those salmon cakes).

Green vegetables and leafy greens: Chinese cabbage, kale, collards, bok choy, broccoli, mustard greens, dandelion greens, Brussels sprouts, spinach and okra. These provide minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as many other vitamins like vitamin K or vitamin C.

A variety of colorful produce: Colorful produce helps provide important vitamins like vitamin C, and minerals like magnesium and potassium. Aim 5 or more daily servings of produce to include green, orange, and red/purple varieties on most days.

Beans & Legumes: lentils, white beans, black beans, peas and other legumes provide plant-based protein, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Beans are an easy addition to soups, pastas, or salads--and bean dips like hummus or white bean dip are nutritious crowd pleasers at parties.


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