When you think of bone health what mineral comes to mind? Most people would say calcium. Well would you be surprised if I told you that calcium is not the only mineral involved in keeping your bones healthy? There are 17 other nutrients involved, that's right there are 18 nutrients that make up bones and they all work synergistically together. So if there are 18 nutrients that make up bones, why do we only hear about one? I think it has a lot to do with the dairy industry because calcium is abundant in dairy (not very bioavailable, but abundant), it could also be that calcium is what gives bones their strength and rigidity.
So what are the other 17 nutrients?
Phosphorus Manganese Vitamin A Essential fatty acids
Magnesium Copper Vitamin B6 Protein
Flouride Boron Vitamin K
Silica Vitamin D Vitamin B12
Zinc Vitamin C Folic Acid
Most of these nutrients can be found in plant foods like dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and grains. The only one that would be animal based would be B12 but vegetarians can supplement and if you have healthy gut bacteria some B12 can be made by the body (this is where fermented vegetables can come in handy)
Ok, so those are the nutrients that you need to take in, then you need to be careful not to consume to much of the bone robbing nutrients:
Other factors to consider for bone health - smoking hinders bones self repair mechanisms, alcohol inhibits absorption and increases excretion of bone building nutrients, antacids are toxic to the bones, antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria and can result in weakened digestion, heavy metals can accumulate in the system because they are not easily excreted, stress can lead to excretion of bone building nutrients
These are things we need to think about throughout life, not just when we get older and doctors start testing you for osteoporosis. Bone is constantly being broken down and rebuilt, a problem occurs when bone is being broken down faster than it can be rebuilt. If we are eating the right foods and not too many of the bone robbing nutrients, we can aide our body in this process and ensure healthy bones for life.