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Vegetarian? Make Sure You're Getting These Bone-Building Nutrients

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A Scientific American White Papers reader asks I've been following a vegetarian diet. How can I be sure I'm getting the nutrients I need for good bone health? Here's our advice.

You're smart to recognize that good nutrition plays an important role in preserving your bone health and preventing osteoporosis. A vegetarian diet can be an excellent choice for overall health, and eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables supplies many of the nutrients your bones need, including magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. Still, a plant-based diet may be deficient in bone-essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D, so you should be sure to consume foods that contain them.

Here are some non-meat/fish/ fowl sources for these three key nutrients:

  • Vitamin B12 Dairy products, eggs, vitamin B12-fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, and supplements.
  • Calcium: Dairy products, calcium-fortified foods such as tofu or orange juice, and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, collards, kale, mustard greens and okra. Other options include white beans, navel oranges, dried figs, almonds, almond butter and almond milk, tahini, tempeh, soybeans and supplements.
  • Vitamin D: Fortified cow's milk and other dairy products, fortified soy milk, eggs, mushrooms and supplements.

Also be sure you are eating protein at every meal, since vegetarians often consume less protein than meat-eaters. Good choices include dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts, soy milk and meat substitutes.

Posted in Osteoporosis on September 14, 2015

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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