5 WAYS TO BOOST BONE HEALTH + PRUNE ENERGY BARS
The foods that we eat play a vital role in our overall health both in the present and long-term. Today we’re chatting all about bone health in honor of World Osteoporosis Day which takes place every year on October 20th. Did you know that osteoporosis affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50? Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, which can increase the risk of bone fracture or breakage over time. We can reduce our risk of osteoporosis by eating right and engaging in overall healthy lifestyle habits. In today’s post I’m sharing 5 ways to naturally boost bone health as well as a tasty snack recipe that contains ingredients that support strong bones!
5 TIPS TO NATURALLY BOOST BONE HEALTH
This is one bone-friendly food that may surprise you! Research suggests that eating 5-6 prunes each day may help to prevent bone loss. Prunes contain many nutrients that are important for bone health, including vitamin K, which supports calcium balance within the body. In addition to being a great snack for bone health, prunes contain 3 grams of fiber per serving, which can help contribute to regular digestive health. Prunes are also lower in sugar compared to other dried fruits and have a glycemic index of 29. This means that prunes are digested slowly providing the body with a slow and steady source of energy!
Greens are low in calories, nutrient dense, packed with fiber as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that help our body thrive! Green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale, bok choy, mustard greens and broccoli all contain calcium which can support bone health. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach or one cup of cooked collard greens contains approximately 25% of your recommended daily intake of calcium! Add a handful of kale or spinach to your morning smoothie or try dicing up broccoli and adding to your favorite pasta sauce. Cooked spinach is a great side dish or added to pasta dishes and bok choy is also delicious in soup!
Almonds contain protein, fiber, quality fats and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus that help build and maintain healthy bones. One serving (23 almonds) has 160 calories and 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber as well as 13 grams of monounsaturated fats, a type of fat known to support brain and heart health.
It’s important for overall health as well as bone health to stay active. Weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises are best for bone health such as weight training, yoga, walking, hiking, jogging, jump roping, swimming, climbing stairs, tennis… even dancing, cha cha cha! A good rule of thumb is to engage in mild to moderate activity for at least 30-minutes 5 times per week. If you’re new to exercise, break it up into 10 minutes of movement three times throughout the day. Take a walk on your lunch break, park your car farther from the store entrance or turn on some music and dance!
LIMIT BONE HEALTH INHIBITING FOODS
Limit foods with added salt, like some processed foods and canned foods, and be cautious about how much salt you add to your meals. Limiting our intake of sodium has also been shown to support both heart and bone health. This is because excess sodium consumption may increase calcium excretion from the body, leading to bone loss.
Heavy alcohol consumption is also unhealthy for many reasons, but one is that more than 2 – 3 drinks per day has been associated with bone loss.
Caffeine is believed to decrease calcium absorption as well. Be careful not to drink more than three caffeinated beverages each day, this includes coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks.
- 2 cups of prunes
- 1 cup of almonds
- ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Add all ingredients into a food processor and pulse together until a sticky batter forms
- Press batter evenly into a baking dish and let set in the fridge or freezer overnight
- In the morning, cut into bars!
- Alternatively you can roll the batter into balls to create mini energy snack bites!
- Keep stored in the fridge and enjoy within 2 weeks or the freezer and enjoy within 4 weeks
- I included almonds in this recipe since they are good for bone health! However, for those with a tree nut allergy you can swap the almonds for sunflower seeds or more pumpkin seeds!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Sunsweet.