HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI: Eating for Healthy Bones is this month’s topic of the Forrest General and Extra Table health and wellness partnership. The partnership was formed in early 2019 as a way to celebrate Extra Table’s 10 years of providing healthy food to Mississippi’s most food-insecure residents. Not getting enough nutrients to develop strong bones puts people at risk later for brittle bones or osteoporosis, which can lead to breaking bones and other serious problems. A healthful, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent bone disease.

“Loss of bone strength happens over time. Of course, uncontrollable factors, such as heredity and age, play a large role, but proper nutrition goes a long way toward keeping bones healthy as we grow older. The elderly population is prone to stress fractures and osteoporosis due to poor nutrition; they also represent those most likely to live on a fixed income with limited access to the healthy foods they need,” said Rob Robertson, MD, Foot and Ankle Specialist at Southern Bone and Joint and The Orthopedic Institute.

Here are a few tips to help keep your bones healthy!

1) Skip the salty foods
Foods that are high in sodium such as pizza causes your body to lose calcium which can lead to loss of bone density. Limit yourself to one slice of pizza and substitute another slice with a side salad.
2) Drink your milk
Got milk? Calcium is crucial to bone development and bone strength. A diet filled with dairy products keeps your bones strong and healthy.
3) Eat your peas
Just one cup of peas contains 44 percent of your necessary vitamin K consumption which helps to bind calcium inside your bones.
4) Soak in the Sun
Just as green plants need sunlight so do you! Vitamin D can be absorbed through sunlight reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
5) Go Darker with Your Greens
Dairy products are not the only source of foods high in calcium. Dark leafy greens such as cabbage, kale, and collard greens can help you achieve 20 percent of your daily calcium goal.
6) Start Your Day Off Tart
Add a grapefruit to your breakfast, and you’ll be doing more for your body than just waking up your taste buds. One whole grapefruit has enough vitamin C to meet your required intake for the entire day.
7) Squeeze the Day
Next time you’re at the grocery store look for orange juice that has been fortified with calcium, because it has the same amount of bone-building calcium as dairy milk.
8) Be a Prune
Eating prunes every day helps improve bone health and density by slowing the break down process of bone in your body.
9) A Smarter Sweet
Unlike refined white sugar, molasses is a source of calcium. Try molasses instead of honey to top your yogurt, oatmeal, or mix in a smoothie.
10) Get Fishy
Fish like tuna, catfish, and salmon are whole food sources of vitamin D, which promotes calcium absorption and mineralization of the bone.

Dr. Robertson stated that Forrest General partners with Extra Table because they understand the value of proper nutrition not only to fill a stomach today, but to improve a person’s overall wellness for the rest of their life. The mission of Extra Table focuses on the monthly shipment of healthy and shelf stable foods that will support a bone healthy diet -whole grain items, low-sodium soups and vegetables, fruit in water and lean proteins.

“Statistics show where ninety percent of adult bone mass is in place by the end of adolescence and that bone mass has to last you a lifetime,” said Martha Allen, executive director of Extra Table.

Extra Table was launched by well-known restaurateur Robert St. John, in 2009, as a response to Edward’s Street need for food. For years, Extra Table only shipped food in the Pine Belt. Today, Extra Table is a nationally recognized non-profit that ships food monthly to 39 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state of Mississippi.

To learn more about the efficient and effective way Extra Table works to feed our hungry neighbors, visit www.ExtraTable.org or call 601-264-0672. Extra Table is always looking to grow and increase their abilities to feed more people. Supportive donors are needed to insure continued growth, visit www.ExtraTable.org/donate to become a partner in the fight against hunger.