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Foods That Promote Bone Growth

by
author image Erica Kannall
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Foods That Promote Bone Growth
Dairy products contain vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy bones. Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Your bones consist of a complex network of proteins, such as collagen, and minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Certain key nutrients such as vitamin D play a part in bone health. But a variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet help encourage bone growth, density and development. While you can't actually grow longer bones once you reach adulthood, eating a well-balanced, whole-food-based diet helps you get the nutrients needed to support bone health and density.

Foods With Major Minerals

Foods That Promote Bone Growth
Yogurt with blueberries Photo Credit tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images

Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are the major minerals needed to encourage strong, healthy bones. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, contain all three of these minerals. You also get dietary calcium from eating broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu and dried beans. Phosphorus is found in meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, potatoes, corn and peas. Other sources of magnesium include lentils, tofu, peanuts, cashews, almonds, whole grains, beef, chicken and pork.

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Trace Mineral Sources

Foods That Promote Bone Growth
Platter of assorted shellfish Photo Credit Tatiana Makarova/iStock/Getty Images

Other minerals are needed in smaller amounts by your body; they encourage bone growth and strong bone collagen production. Zinc, copper and silicon are three of these trace minerals. You get zinc from eating protein-rich foods, such as beef, chicken, seafood, shellfish, beans, peas, nuts, seeds and dairy products. Copper is found in shellfish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables and prunes. Eating more whole grains and root vegetables helps boost your silicon intake.

Vitamins D and K in Food

Foods That Promote Bone Growth
Salmon with herbs Photo Credit anna liebiedieva/iStock/Getty Images

Your bone density also relies on vitamin D to help regulate calcium absorption and vitamin K to promote bone protein formation and calcium binding. Eating dairy products, seafood such as salmon, tuna and shrimp, liver and eggs helps you get more vitamin D. Your body can also synthesize vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin K comes from green leafy vegetables, such as chard, kale, collard greens and spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish, meat and eggs.

Sources of Vitamins C and B-6

Foods That Promote Bone Growth
Plate of uncooked brussel sprouts Photo Credit papkin/iStock/Getty Images

Getting an adequate amount of vitamins C and B-6 also helps promote bone repair and density by encouraging bone collagen formation and triggering bone cell activity. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, melons, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes. You'll get vitamin B-6 from eating seafood, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, beans, peas, bananas, avocados, watermelon, potatoes and carrots.

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