Health & wellbeing

The best foods and vitamins for bone and joint health

22 Dec 2023 | Written by Nurul Ahad

This article was authored by This article was authored by Mr. Nurul Ahad, Medical Director and Orthopaedic Consultant for Practice Plus Group. With over 15 years of experience in orthopaedic surgery, he is a meticulous, patient-focused surgeon with a proven track record for delivering an excellent quality of service.

With so much conflicting advice about the best superfoods to eat and the ‘must have’ supplements to take, it can be hard to know where to begin when thinking about eating for joint health. Perhaps you’ve been led to believe that simply having a glass of milk every now and then is sufficient for promoting healthy bones. But here’s the spoiler: it’s not!

Let’s debunk the myths and uncover the true secrets to strong and healthy bones so you can make informed choices about your bone health.

What affects bone health?

A number of different factors can affect bone health. These include, but aren’t exclusive to:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight – being over or underweight can put excess stress on your bones and joints.
  • Calcium – the amount of calcium in your diet is directly related to bone health. If your calcium intake is low, try to include more dairy products in your diet. We’ll explore the benefits and sources of calcium in more detail below.
  • Exercise – the more active you are, the more likely you are to have strong bones. So, make sure you start to include some exercise in your week if you don’t do so already.
  • Smoking and drinking to excess – unfortunately, research does suggest that regularly drinking more than one unit of alcohol a day (or two for men) can lead to poor bone health. If you enjoy a tipple at the weekend, try to make sure you have a few alcohol-free days during the week.

What vitamins and minerals do we need for strong bones?

There are plenty of ways to boost your intake of vitamins to make your bones nice and strong. We explore a selection of them below…

B12 and bone health

Low levels of vitamin B12 can make your bones brittle which, in turn, can increase your risk of fractures. Increasing your intake of vitamin B12 can help promote your mineral bone density.

The general advice is to take around 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day. Vitamin B12 can be found in fish and poultry. Whether you love it or hate it, it can also be found in Marmite – only in high doses, mind.

Calcium and bone health 

In terms of health, calcium is like a superfood. The following are proven benefits to regularly taking the mineral:

  • Helping build strong bones and teeth.
  • Maintaining good heart health.
  • Clotting blood.
  • Maintaining good muscle function.

Anything over 1,000 milligrams per day is good. Young children may need more while their bones are developing. To give some context, there is about 125mg of calcium in a glass of milk.

From rye bread to a good old-fashioned glass of milk, calcium can be found in lots of different types of food. Cheeses and yoghurts are high in calcium, as are most kinds of leafy greens. However, if you’re after calcium, be sure to avoid spinach. The calcium in spinach cannot be absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D and bone health

Vitamin D is key to helping your body absorb calcium. Together, they both provide protection against diseases like osteoporosis, which weaken the bones.

You’ll need between 15 and 20 micrograms per day. If you’re over the age of 70, you may be recommended a slightly higher dose. Vitamin D can be found in plentiful supply in cod liver oil. Just one teaspoon of cod liver oil can provide you with over half of your necessary daily intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also a sure-fire way of making sure you get your daily requirement.

Magnesium and bone health 

Magnesium is crucial for maintaining healthy muscles, bones and nerves. It can also help the body maintain good blood sugar levels. People who don’t get enough magnesium in their diet may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes and osteoporosis.

The general advice is to take between 300-400mg of magnesium per day. The good news is that magnesium is found in a whole load of different foods. Ginger and bananas are especially high, as are leafy greens, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

Vitamin K and bone health 

Vitamin K is another important element in the building and maintenance of healthy bones. It helps to prevent the development of osteoporosis and regulates blood clotting.

An adult needs the equivalent amount of vitamin K in their daily intake as their weight in kilograms. For example, if you weigh 80 kilograms, you’re likely to need 80 micrograms of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 can be found in many foods, including grapes, kale, cabbage and lettuce. 

As a rule, one of the best bone supplement vitamins to take is vitamin K2. There is plenty of evidence to conclude that taking it as a supplement can improve bone density. Vitamin K2 can be found in dairy products, egg yolks, chicken, pork and beef. 

What’s the best diet for bone health?

As always, the best diet is a balanced one. Leafy greens and fish oil can provide plenty of nutrients to keep the bones and joints healthy, but it’s important not to overlook the importance of red meat and carbs, especially if you’re an active person.

Foods high in salt (or sodium) can cause you to lose calcium which, in turn, leads to a loss of bone density. Avoid eating too much processed and canned foods as these tend to be high in salt.

While supplements like collagen and glucosamine have gained popularity, it’s essential to remember that a well-balanced diet is the key to overall health and wellbeing. By following our advice and fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods, you can support your bone and joint health while enjoying the delicious flavours and variety of a healthy eating plan.

A note from The Joy Club: This article was provided by Mr. Nurul Ahad and the Practice Plus Group. We know that health and wellbeing is extremely important to our members and that you would like to see more health-focused content within The Joy Club community. That’s why we are very excited to partner with Practice Plus Group – an outstanding healthcare provider – to bring you high-quality, expert-led health content.

What’s more, Practice Plus Group is offering members of The Joy Club a specially discounted consultation, giving you the opportunity to explore a health condition with one of Practice Plus Group’s experienced consultants, should you so wish.

An initial appointment with Practice Plus Group normally costs £95, but members of The Joy Club can benefit from a first-class consultation – including blood tests, swabs and x-rays (as required) – for a flat fee of just £50, saving £45.

Read on to find out more about how the consultation works, what conditions Practice Plus Group can help you with, how to make your booking and more.

What does the consultation involve?

The Practice Plus Group consultation includes your initial consultation with a surgeon, a pre-operative nurse assessment (if needed) and any required blood tests, swabs and x-rays.

How much does the consultation cost?

A consultation with Practice Plus Group normally costs £95, but thanks to our special discount, members of The Joy Club pay just £50, saving £45. There is no additional cost for any blood tests, swabs or x-rays conducted as part of the consultation. The only additional costs you may incur are those for diagnostic imaging (other than x-ray), if required. Otherwise, everything is included in the flat fee of £50.

Are consultations held online or in person?

All consultations take place face-to-face.

How much time should I allow for the consultation?

The initial consultation with the surgeon should take between 20-30 minutes. Should you require any blood tests, x-rays or a pre-operative nurse assessment, you should allow up to 3-hours to cover everything in one visit.

Would there be any follow-up consultations and, if so, how many would there be and how much would they cost?

Should you wish to proceed with a surgical treatment with Practice Plus Group, follow-up consultations may be required. At this point, you will be given a quote for the full price of your treatment. Practice Plus Group’s treatment price includes any follow-up consultation costs, the surgery itself, anaesthetic, any overnight stays (if clinically appropriate), suitable follow ups, medication, equipment and physiotherapy, as required. There are no hidden extras – the price you are quoted for your treatment is the price you pay.

What health conditions can I explore with a Practice Plus Group consultant?

Practice Plus Group specialises in treatment of hip, knee and eye conditions, but offers a comprehensive range of affordable private medical treatments covering a wide variety of conditions. You can explore the full range of treatments that they offer here.

Can I request an expert in a particular field?

If you have a particular consultant you would like to see, please let Practice Plus Group know when making your enquiry and they will try their best to accommodate.

How do I book my specially discounted consultation?

To book your consultation, simply call Practice Plus Group on 03301 620 730, email them on PrivatePatient@practiceplusgroup.com or submit an enquiry via the online form on the Practice Plus Group website to receive a call back. Make sure to quote code JOY45, when prompted, in order to redeem your special discount.

Practice Plus Group is one of England’s largest independent providers of private, insured and NHS healthcare. They are passionate about what they do and believe that anyone should be able to access excellent care.

Practice Plus Group is committed to providing positive experiences and excellent clinical outcomes. The Care Quality Commission, an independent regulator of health and social care in England, rated all of Practice Plus Group’s hospitals as ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’, meaning you can feel assured that their services are safe, reliable and personalised.