You may have seen news reports, fad diets or ads touting the health benefits of the latest super food — everything from slowing aging to promoting weight loss. “Super” foods are good for your heart and your overall health when incorporated into a heart-healthy diet and one that promotes bone health. While there are no standard criteria or approved list of super foods, eating too much of one type of food may prevent you from getting the nutrients you need. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many people in the U.S. don’t get enough of the potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and milk products.
Foods that we eat can either build up or break down our bones, the 206 hard yet lightweight parts of the body that help us move around, protect our internal organs, and give support and structure to our otherwise formless tissues. That is right. Foods are not created equal. Some of them can do our bones good while others can do harm. So we have to be smart and make our diet one that is friendly to our hardworking bones.
- Salmon is a fatty fish that’s low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Wild-caught salmon is arguably the most excellent source of Vitamin D, giving us a whopping 265% of our daily requirement per four ounces of serving.
- Nuts, legumes and seeds are good sources of protein and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats when eaten in moderation. Choices include unsalted almonds, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts. Seeds are good sources of magnesium; our bones need the mineral magnesium to work properly. In fact, they store about 50% of the total magnesium in our bodies. To keep our bones working well, it is wise to load up on foods rich in magnesium.
- Berries like blueberries and strawberries have high levels of phytochemicals called flavonoids.
- Soy products like tofu, soy butter and soy milk are high in polyunsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals but low in saturated fat. Other than its bone-building abilities, yogurt also helps us strengthen our immune system, reduce bad cholesterol, shed unwanted weight, clean up the intestines, and even fight cancer.
- Pumpkin is low in calories, high in fiber and high in vitamin A.
- Kale provides vitamins A and C, potassium and phytochemicals.
- Low-fat or nonfat yogurt, which provides calcium, vitamin D and protein, can be a good substitute for sour cream in recipes.