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Follow this bone-building pyramid to avoid stress fractures

Keep your bones strong by eating according to these guidelines

If you want to run well and avoid stress fractures, you need to take care of your bones. An effective nutrition strategy is the only way to build strong bones (or avoid bone loss, depending on your age), but this means more than simply drinking enough milk. Recently, a group of nutrition scientists published a bone-building pyramid in the journalĀ Nutrients to help runners of all ages ensure they’re eating properly to support bone health.

Nutrients 2022, 14(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010074

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The base of the pyramid is made up of the foods you should be eating every day, including high-calcium mineral water, fresh fruits and vegetables (particularly dark leafy greens and orange fruits and veggies), whole grains, low-fat dairy, extra virgin olive oil and nuts. These foods are important for bone health because of their calcium, vitamin D, boron, omega 3 and isoflavones content.

The top of the pyramid is made up of foods that don’t need to be consumed every day, but contribute to bone health when eaten regularly in moderation. This includes fish, white meat like chicken or turkey, eggs, fresh cheese (like ricotta, goat, feta, halloumi, paneer, etc.) and red meat (only one portion per week). The pyramid does not completely ban sugary foods, but suggests consuming sweets only once in a while.

The red and green flags at the top contain additional advice for anyone who already has osteopenia or osteoporosis. If this describes you, the researchers encourage you to avoid too much salt, caffeine (more than 3 cups per day) or inorganic phosphate additives, which you’ll find in fast food, canned or bottled drinks, spreadable cheeses and processed foods. At the same time, you may need to include some personalized supplementation, including calcium, vitamin D, boron, omega-3 and isoflavones in your daily routine.

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If you want to be a healthy, strong runner, you need healthy, strong bones. This pyramid is an excellent guide for all runners, but if you’re concerned about your bone health, talk to your doctor to get yourself on the right track.