The Calcium Side Your Bones Crave

By RealAge

Keep your skeleton strong and fracture-free by serving that calcium supplement with a salad on the side.

Salad? Yep, salad. A 4-year study found that older adults with the highest intakes of carotenoids — think tomatoes, carrots, and leafy greens for major sources — retained more bone mineral density than folks eating fewer fruits and veggies.

Antioxidant Bone Protection
Fruits and vegetables are bursting with antioxidants called carotenoids — including compounds like lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, to name a few. Don’t bother trying to pronounce them. Just know that veggie-stacked salads will probably provide your daily needs and then some.

How They Work
Carotenoids may protect bones by stymieing the oxidative stress thought to play a role in age-related weakening of bones. Carotenoids may also act synergistically with vitamin D to boost bone-cell growth. Still need more reasons to eat extra fruits and veggies?

Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Sahni, S. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009 Jan;89(1):416-424.

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