Healthy Bites

A role for iron in building strong bones?

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When you think of ways to build strong and healthy bones, most people immediately mention calcium.

However, new research indicates that iron might also make a difference in your bone health.

A recent study at the University of Arizona and University of Arkansas found that postmenopausal women who consumed at least 18 milligrams of iron a day had the greatest bone mineral density levels.

The role of iron in bone density may be linked to its role in the production of collagen, a key component of our bones. Good sources of dietary iron include beef, poultry, fish and beans.

Researchers also found that iron's benefits may be tied to calcium consumption in the range of 800 to 1,200 milligrams per day. It appears that a balanced intake of iron and calcium has the best benefit in terms of bone health.

Iron and calcium are among other important nutrients for healthy bones so be sure to include a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid every day.

This tip was provided by Kelley Steen, clinical dietitian at Central Peninsula Hospital, courtesy of the American Dietetic Association's public relations team.



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