The importance of diet is often underestimated in the quest for maintaining strong bones.Fall harvest of squash with a white background  However, the foods you eat will supply the essential vitamins and minerals needed for new bone deposition and the prevention of excessive bone loss.  Calcium and vitamin D are not the only nutrients that contribute to bone strength; vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and other lesser known nutrients are critical as well.  Eating fruits and vegetables in season provides an abundance of the vitamins and minerals that keep both your bones and your body healthy and strong.

Not only do freshly harvested foods taste better, but there is also fair amount of research that suggests that eating foods that are in season are better for you nutritionally as well. Produce reaches its peak nutritional value when it is fully ripe.  Once harvested, fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrient content.  Produce out of season is generally grown far away, picked before it is ripe and then ripens in the truck on its journey to various grocery stores. This practice allows produce to survive days or weeks on trucks and in grocery stores but doesn’t provide your body with the richest nutrient content.

Eating foods when nature produces them is what people the world over have done naturally through most of history.  So as you adjust your wardrobe for the fall season, be sure to adjust your diet to take in the fall foods that will add wonderful flavor to your meals and exceptional nutrients for your bones.

Fall for these foods to strengthen your bones:

  1. Apples – Not only are apples nature’s ultimate fast food, but they contain the flavonoid phloridzin. Phloridzin is only found in apples and research suggests that it may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density.  Apples are also high in vitamin C and boron, two other nutrients necessary for bone strength.
  2. Pears –High in the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and copper. This makes pears a delicious way to get these minerals that can help reduce bone loss.
  3. Cauliflower – An excellent source of vitamin K and one of the hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Cauliflower is also high in folate, fiber, vitamins B5 and B6. Try it roasted or mashed for a change of pace.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds– Save those seeds when carving out your pumpkins! Pumpkin seeds are a great source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron.  One-third cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium needed for bone health.  Magnesium acts synergistically with calcium for proper bone formation.
  5. Squash – Winter squashes are a nutritional jackpot! They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and a good source of zinc, calcium, and manganese.  Squash also provides important anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, as well as  unusual anti-inflammatory polysaccharides called homogalacturonan.

Include these delicious and nutritious fall foods in your diet to help reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis as you age, and ensure strength and durability for your bones throughout your life.

Try these wonderful bone building Fall recipes!

Roasted Cauliflower

Apple Butternut Squash Soup