Yoghurt is one of those foods that you can enjoy at any time of the day; such as a hearty breakfast, an attractive midday snack or even a tasty dessert to end the night. And as plain as it may taste, you can add toppings to yogurts to make them more nutritious. Because yogurt is full of bone-strengthening nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, it’s good for protecting brittle bones.
That said, it’s important that when thinking about what to put in your yogurt, you choose ingredients that highlight the benefits of yogurt. If you’re looking for more foods to keep your bones from aging, you may want to consider one in particular. Seconds Emma Laing, PhD, RDNsays a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics the #1 best yogurt combination to prevent aging bones is yogurt with plums.
Dr. Laing says yogurt combined with prunes can strengthen bones.
“Recent research has shown that eating a small number of prunes (also known as prunes) each day is helpful for maintaining bone strength,” says Dr Laing. “Prunes contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, as well as other bioactive compounds that have been linked to the prevention of bone loss.”
How to add prunes and bone-strengthening foods to your yogurt
Although plums may not be everyone’s number one fruit choice, they offer many benefits. So it’s worth trying to incorporate them into your yogurt. As a prescription option, Dr. Laing suggests adding stewed prunes to a bowl of plain yogurt. Then sweeten the bowl with honey or a sugar substitute and add cinnamon to taste. Then you can enjoy it as a nutritious breakfast or snack.
If you don’t seem to like adding prunes to your yogurt, Dr. Laing suggests a second option: other fruits!
“Many fruits contain bone-building nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and vitamin C and have been linked to the prevention of skeletal fractures,” he says.
For another recipe idea, Dr. Laing suggests grabbing a mason jar or tall glass and creating a colorful fruit and yogurt parfait.
“Pair plain yogurt with whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand, such as strawberries, bananas, blueberries, papaya, kiwi or pineapples,” recommends Dr Laing. “Top the parfait with crunchy whole-grain granola or other nuts or seeds to provide extra protein and magnesium.”
Adding any of these ingredients (with or without crunch) can also be mixed into a smoothie. Dr. Laing recommends adding fresh or frozen spinach to your smoothie for extra amounts of vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins, calcium, potassium and magnesium. To create a smoother drinking yogurt, you can also add milk, water, or 100% juice when blending.
For more recipes and ideas, you can visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
Yogurt, in general, is a great food to add to your diet
Whichever option you choose, Dr. Laing touts the benefits of adding yogurt to your diet.
“Yogurt is a versatile food in the market,” he says. “You can find it in numerous flavors. Also as regular fat, low fat and fat-free options. And, as frozen, chilled, drinkable or juiced.”
He goes on to say that, similar to many dairy products, certain brands of yogurt can be excellent sources of calcium. Plus, they can be packed with protein and other “bone-building” nutrients.
“Protein, in particular, is a macronutrient that is important for supporting bone and muscle health,” says Dr. Laing. “Because muscle has a profound influence on bone, the nutrients that support muscle also support bone and vice versa.”
According to Dr. Laing, yogurts such as the Greek, Icelandic, Australian and French yogurt varieties are high in protein. Meanwhile, plant-based yogurts are good options for bone health when fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
The benefits of yogurt don’t stop there…
“Yogurt is unique because it contains ‘good bacteria’, which can help with the balance and diversity of bacteria in the gut,” says Dr Laing. “These good bacteria have been shown to support bone and immune health, among other health benefits.”
For example, Dr. Laing explains that gut bacteria help digest food, destroy harmful microorganisms, and can even produce vitamins.
“The gut microbiome has been studied as a potential regulator of bone health,” he says. “Researchers have linked the probiotics found in yogurt to better calcium balance and decreased bone loss.”
How to prevent your bones from aging
“An eating pattern that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods can support bone health,” says Dr Laing. “This is in addition to weight-bearing physical activities and the use of medications as prescribed.”
According to Dr. Laing, these are the foods recommended by the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation, as well as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- Dairy (such as low-fat milk and yogurt)
- Fish (such as sardines and canned salmon)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D (such as milk, soy foods, juices and whole grains)
“These foods contain nutrients that have been shown to benefit the musculoskeletal system, says Dr Laing. This includes protein, vitamins A, C, D and K, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium.”
Finally, when it comes to promoting optimal bone health, Dr. Laing suggests finding a nutrition expert to help you meet your needs. This is because nutritional recommendations vary for people based on several factors. This includes age genetics, physical activity patterns and medication use.
“Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you navigate appropriate food sources and the need for supplements if needed,” says Dr. Laing.