Anyone who has had a stress fracture (or even a stress fracture scare) is likely to be hypersensitive to anything that can increase or reduce the risk. In the past we have talked about bone robbers, four foods that should be removed from a runner’s diet to help reduce the risk of getting a stress fracture.
But we know that most runners want to keep making improvements. Those of us who have been through a fracture, know how much pain it brings, both physically and emotionally, and want to avoid it in any way we can in the future.
The beauty of our bones is that they are living tissues, continually repairing and rebuilding themselves. So, if you bones are currently in a frail and fragile state, they don’t have to stay in that condition. In addition to removing the “bone robbers” we mentioned, you can add the following foods and nutrients to your diet to rebuild, repair and strengthen your bones!
By making some focused dietary changes you can reduce your risk of stress fractures and possibly prevent your next stress fracture.
3 Minerals (other than calcium) + 2 Vitamins = Good Food & Strong Bones
Here’s the deal:
There are three minerals and two vitamins that play large roles in the rebuilding of bone tissue. The three minerals are magnesium, potassium an silicon. The two vitamins are vitamin D and Vitamin K.
Let me explain how these minerals and vitamins help rebuild the bone tissue, as well as give you a list of great foods to add to your current diet that contain these nutrients.
60% of dietary magnesium is stored in bone tissue and it plays multiple key roles in bone health.
First, magnesium contributes to the structure of bones, along with calcium and phosphorus. Second, magnesium regulates calcium transport into the bones. Third, magnesium triggers the hormone calcitonin, which helps protect the bones when the body is imbalanced, by pulling calcium from the blood and tissues back into the bones. Finally, magnesium helps to change vitamin D2 into vitamin D3, it’s active form, which increases calcium absorption.
Foods High in Magnesium:
Broccoli, seeds: flax, pumpkin and sesame, nuts: brazil and almonds, dark chocolate, molasses and dried herbs
As runner, we all know that potassium can play a large role in reducing muscle soreness after a hard run, but did you know that potassium also is a key component of strong healthy bones?
Our bones are used as a “alkaline” resource for our bodies to decrease extra acid. (we wrote about this in detail in our article on pH) Once our body has used all it’s free floating alkaline resources it begins to leech the alkalizing minerals from our bones. Having significant amounts of potassium gives our body’s a free alkalizing mineral to use instead of breakdown bone tissue to get it.
Foods High in Potassium:
Bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, avocados, dried apricots, pistachios, seeds: pumpkin, sunflower and squash, fish: salmon, halibut and tuna, beans and medjool dates.
Silicon is a trace mineral and is essential in helping to develop and maintain the structure and function of connective and skeletal systems.
Several studies have shown that silicon plays a beneficial role in bone health.A 2003 study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found, “higher dietary silicon intake in men and women may have salutary (good/beneficial) effects on skeletal health, especially cortical bone health..”
Foods High in Silicon:
Onions, bell peppers, apples, raisins, almonds, raw cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, carrots, and oranges.
Vitamin D plays a very large role in protecting and preventing you from getting a stress fracture. Every single cell in the human body has a vitamin D receptor on it.
Vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption in the gut, and balances calcium and phosphate levels in the blood. Keeping calcium and phosphate levels balanced allows for healthy bone mineralization. Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts, the cells that build and remodel our bones, require vitamin D to function.
Without proper amounts of vitamin D, bones will become brittle and thin.
Foods High in Vitamin D:
Fish, cod liver oil, oysters, sardines (with bones), organic eggs, mushrooms
There are three proteins in bone that play a significant role in repairing and rebuilding bone tissue. These three proteins, osteocalcin, matrix Gla Protein, and protein S. Osteocalcin all require Vitamin K to complete their function of contributing to the rebuilding of bone tissue.
Foods High in Vitamin K:
Fresh and dry herbs, dark leafy greens (spinach, collards, kale, chard), scallions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, prunes
Food holds power and is a key component to running your best
The “foods” that I exposed in the “bone robbers” article hold the potential power to contribute to a stress fracture.
The foods listed in this article hold the potential power to prevent and protect you from a stress fracture. Make the changes in your diet today to remove “bone robbing” food and add or increase these delicious bone-building foods.
Take matters into your own hands, keep yourself running and off the sidelines through the power of the foods you consume!
Get more great injury prevention advice from Abby Housefield (plus other great training & maintenance tips from Jeff Gaudette & Co) on the RunnersConnect blog.