Lots of Plant Foods - Especially Fruits and Vegetables

A high vegetable and fruit intake provides micronutrients that are essential for bone formation.  Fruits and vegetables contain more of the key nutrients necessary for bone strength than animal foods.  Vegetable intake is key to obtaining calcium from a variety of plant sources.   Vegetables and fruits also reduce the acid load of the diet.

A large number of studies show that as fruit and vegetable consumption increases so does bone density.  It is possible that fruits and vegetables are beneficial to bone health through yet to be discovered mechanisms.   Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D. and Michael Castleman in their book "Building Bone Vitality" reviewed 103 studies on the bone mineral density effects of fruits and vegetables or studies of nutrients found mainly in fruits and vegetables.  Eighty four percent of the studies found that with an increase in fruit, vegetable or anti-oxidant intake bone mineral density also increased.   Nine percent of the studies were inconclusive and only 7 percent showed no effect on bone mineral density from fruits and vegetables.

In addition to being crucial for healthy bones, a liberal fruit and vegetable intake may also reduce your risk of developing other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

Easy ways to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet

  • Use fruit chutneys, salsas or berries made into glazes to top meats, fish or vegetarian entrees.
  • Make sauces from pureed vegetables like cauliflower or red peppers.
  • Prepare lasagna, pasta, pizza and tacos with vegetables instead of meat.
  • Slice zucchini or carrots into pasta like strands and use as a substitute for pasta.
  • Substitute spaghetti squash for spaghetti.
  • Add canned pumpkin to chili or grated carrots to meatloaf.
  • Make soups from a mixture of pureed vegetables.
  • Use fruits for desserts and snacks.
  • Combine fruit with a small piece of high quality, high cocoa content chocolate.

An online Eating Plan, which includes daily menus, recipes and grocery lists for every day of the year, is now available.  Click on the Eating Plans & More tab to view a free demo of the Eating Plan and to purchase a subscription.  If you are interested in group subscriptions for Corporate Wellness Programs email Nancy Robinson.