Bones seem so hard they can’t possibly absorb nutrients: can they? Bone marrow — the sticky red stuff inside your bones — feeds its host all the time. Marrow cells distribute oxygen and protect against disease. Marrow feeds your bones in every respect from the inside. What are you feeding your marrow?

Calcium and Minerals

The minerals most commonly associated with strong bones are calcium and magnesium. If you are getting enough of these, plus vitamin D for absorption, you probably have strong bones. The only catch would be if you suffer from a genetic bone disease in which case healthy eating and exercise might only mitigate symptoms, not end the disease.

A lot of Americans would have to admit they don’t get nearly enough of any of these nutrients either in the form of food or supplements. They don’t get outside enough, so their Vitamin D is lacking too. Poor fitness makes their problems worse since some level of impact and weight training contributes to a solid skeletal structure.

Risks to Bone Health

What will happen to someone who doesn’t feed his bones properly? These structurally necessary features of your body start to die.

First, their density is affected, and density is what makes a bone difficult to break. Next, they become more brittle and, paired with lower density, bones break whereas they used to merely bruise. A little fall turns into a trip to the Emergency Room.

Your bones are holding the rest of you: they must receive nutrients in order to remain healthy. After the age of 40 you are at particular risk, and women lose bone density more rapidly than men owing to menopause and lighter muscle mass.

Eating for Bone Health

The best foods to eat if you want more calcium in your diet are all pretty common. Many are highly popular and some of the country’s favorites. Others are less popular but even more healthy. You should consider adding some if not all of these into your regular dietary routine whether as whole foods or supplements.

Leafy Greens

Mother told you to eat your spinach and Popeye got his strength from a can of the stuff. It looked disgusting and tinned, mushy greens generally are, but not fresh leaves for salad and smoothies.

Then again, you wouldn’t want to eat spirulina raw (most people consume this nutrient-rich form of algae as a powder in smoothies). Other dark green vegetables such as broccoli are also loaded with calcium. If a vegetable is green, chances are it’s worth a try.

Delicious Dairy

If your kids could put cheese on everything, they would eat it according to some advertisements. What if you could give your kids what they wanted, entice them to eat unusual veggies, and also supply them with lots of calcium for strong bones? You would be onto a winning formula and complaints at meal times would be minimal.

Certain dairy is preferable as far as dietitians are concerned: plain yogurt, for instance, is low in fat and high in nutritional density. Yogurt and kefir are both rich with calcium but also with probiotics which help you digest calcium.

Mix things up: serve various types of cheese, milk and milk alternatives, and sometimes even ice cream (as a rare treat) and you serve up a dish your marrow will love at any age.

Nuts about Nuts

Certain nuts, notably almonds, contain lots of nutrients and particularly calcium. If you don’t like to chew nuts or your kids are not fond of them, serve nut butter that has not been sweetened or salted: sandwiches with nut butter and honey are popular. Stay away from highly salted or sweetened versions. The addition of sodium is bad for your heart.

More sugar nullifies the goodness of nuts as refined foods tend to interfere with digestion. Added sugar also adds fat to your body and your bones have to carry that around. The strain of walking around with too much weight contributes to bone pain, arthritis, and inflammation.