Having healthy bones is about so much more than drinking milk. While this old stereotype is dying out, I still find that not enough people know about how to promote healthy and strong bones in other natural ways. Here’s a quick guide that will help you maintain healthy bones is vital throughout your entire life.

1. Eat plenty of protein

Protein is important in our diets for a number of reasons, one of which is that it helps with bone growth. Bones are made up of around 50% protein, and its consumption even impacts calcium uptake. Meat is an obvious source of protein, but the addition of plant-based proteins (such as chickpeas or nuts) is also helpful because of the other nutrients. Plant-based protein also has the advantage of being much lower in cholesterol.

2. Get enough calcium

While the milk-drinking thing is a stereotype, it’s based on the fact that calcium is important for healthy bones. The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1,000mg, although some groups need more than others. Continual, gradual intake of calcium leads to better absorption than one big dose, so try to incorporate it into every meal. Some sources are seeds, beans, almonds, salmon, dairy, rhubarb, and figs.

3. Make sure you get enough vitamin D 

Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption, and it’s very common for people to be deficient. Around 30 minutes of sunlight should be enough for standard vitamin D production, but this isn’t always practical. Supplements are probably the easiest way to boost your vitamin D levels, but make sure you’re actually deficient before you start trying to introduce more into your diet.

4. Do some basic strength exercises

Some people love going to the gym, but some people don’t. Either way, it’s worth doing some basic strength exercises to maintain healthy bones. Many exercises will also increase your muscle mass, not necessarily by much, but you’ll definitely notice a difference. It’s worth searching for the right exercises online, as these will vary depending on factors like age and gender.

5. Make sure you’re eating enough vegetables

Although research is still being done on this, it’s believed that vitamin C is beneficial in maintaining correct bone density. Vegetables are, of course, a good source of vitamin C. Focus on yellow and green vegetables in particular if you’re looking to promote healthy bones.

6. Eat foods high in zinc

We don’t need much zinc in our diets, but it’s necessary for preventing the breakdown of bone cells. Treat this with caution though, as you really don’t need much at all – only 10-12mg. Some good sources of zinc are spinach, pumpkin seeds, and beef.

The key to promoting and maintaining healthy bones naturally is to do these things throughout your life. There’s no stage at which bone health isn’t important, but you’ll need to focus on it much more in later life. Hopefully, with these tips I’ve given you some ways to improve your bone health.