If you’re making sure to get enough exercise, calcium, and vitamin D, you probably think you’ve got pretty strong bones. And you know what, they probably are. Those three components are essential to bone health, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Your body needs calcium for far more than keeping bones healthy. It plays a role in regulating hormones, for example. When your body needs calcium to perform various functions, it relies on what is stored in your bones—especially if you’re not eating or absorbing enough of it from your diet.
When your body starts drawing calcium from bones, they get weaker and become more susceptible to breaks, boosting the risk for osteoporosis. High levels of calcium in the blood are generally a sign it’s being drawn from the bone.
But eating bananas may help your bones stand up and leave calcium where it belongs.
It’s estimated that very few people in North America get enough potassium. There is some evidence suggesting that as many as 98 percent of U.S. adults aren’t reaching the daily recommended intake of 4,700 milligrams.
Potassium plays a key role in the maintenance of bone strength by preventing calcium loss. It prevents the metabolic extraction of calcium from bones, keeping it where it needs to be and ultimately helping slow bone loss.
In turn, this can help promote stronger bones and a lower risk for fractures and conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Bananas, of course, aren’t the only source of potassium. Other foods rich in potassium include beet greens, baked yams, potatoes, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, and salmon.
You could be at higher risk for a potassium deficiency if you take diuretics or battle with chronic diarrhea and vomiting.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help your health in several ways, including building and maintaining strong, healthy bones.
If you’re making an effort to eat more calcium and boost vitamin D intake, add potassium to the list as well. Don’t let your efforts go to waste!
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Andre is a journalist for BelMarraHealth, which first published this article.