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5 Best Foods for Keeping Your Bones from Aging, Says Dietitian

Start your day off right with these bone-strengthening foods.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day for overall health and maintaining a healthy weight, but did you know that it's one of the best opportunities to build and maintain healthy bones?

You can start your day off right with nutrient-rich breakfast foods that pack in bone-building nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. What's more, plant-based breakfast foods like veggies, 100% fruit juice, and whole grains also provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and bolster your bones.

Here are five best foods with skeleton-saving nutrients to add to your shopping list. Then, for even more healthy breakfast tips, check out our list of 6 Best Breakfast Recipes to Slow Aging.


hard boiled eggs

Not only are eggs considered the gold standard for high-quality protein, they're also one of only a few foods that contain vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the bones to absorb and retain calcium.

Unfortunately, many Americans fail to meet their daily vitamin D requirements. We need at least 10 micrograms (400 International Units) of vitamin D a day. A medium egg provides about 5% of the total vitamin D you need daily. Be sure to eat the yolk as that is where the vitamin D is found.

Enjoy eggs as part of a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast that can provide bone-friendly nutrients by cooking up one of these 70+ Best Healthy Egg Recipes.

Milk and plant-based dairy alternatives

pouring milk

If you have cold cereal, a breakfast smoothie, coffee, or tea, adding some cow's milk or even a plant-based dairy alternative can provide skeleton-saving nutrients.

Dairy foods are one of the best sources of calcium and vitamin D, a dynamic duo for bone health. A cup of milk has 300 milligrams or 30% of your daily calcium, 15% of your vitamin D, and 10% of your daily potassium requirements.

When choosing a plant-based dairy alternative, be sure to look for those that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Try Ripple Plant-Based Milk with more calcium and vitamin D than regular cow's milk. A glass of Ripple provided 35% of your daily calcium and 30% of your daily vitamin D requirements.

Greek yogurt

greek yogurt

Enjoying Greek yogurt is a great way to improve bone health, thanks to the calcium and protein it provides. Yogurt is made from milk, so it's no surprise that it's a great option for bone-supporting nutrients.

One study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism reported that subjects who enjoyed plain Greek yogurt for 12 weeks along with a high-impact exercise program experienced greater bone formation compared to those given a placebo.

Greek yogurt also provides magnesium and phosphorus, two important bone-supporting nutrients. Look for Greek yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D.


scrambled eggs with mushrooms on bread

An egg scramble made with plenty of mushrooms is a great way to get a boost of bone-building nutrients in your first meal. Whether you like portobello, button, shiitake, or morels, mushrooms are rich in vitamin D, one of the most important nutrients for your bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium so that it can help provide the matrix needed to build and maintain your skeletal tissues.

One  animal model study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that vitamin D-enhanced mushrooms increased bone density. While further studies are needed, vitamin D-enhanced mushrooms are a tasty addition to your morning meal and may improve your bone health.

Fortified orange juice

Orange juice with fresh oranges

There are several brands of fortified orange juice that provide a hefty dose of calcium and vitamin D. The form of calcium and vitamin D used in OJ is also considered very absorbable and studies show that including these fortified products in your diet can help boost these essential nutrients in your body.

In fact, one study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the vitamin D in fortified orange juice was as effective as vitamin D in supplements. Try Tropicana Pure Premium, which provides 10% of your daily vitamin D and 25% of your daily calcium requirements.

Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications specialist who has written thousands of articles for national media outlets, including The New York Times, US News & World Report, and USA Today. Read more about Julie