You don’t want weak bones in your 20s and 30s. And while calcium is important for bone health, you should also include these vitamins in your diet.

Vitamin K

It helps the body make a protein called osteocalcin, which helps improve bone mass. Additionally, vitamin K is essential for the functioning of a protein called MGP (matrix gla protein ) that’s present in bones, teeth and cartilage.

Best sources: Vegetables such as cabbage, soybean, cheese and liver, and green tea. Since our body can absorb vitamin K only when accompanied by dietary fat, it’s best to eat your leafy green salad with oil-based salad dressings.

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Vitamin D

We need it because our body uses the vitamin to help transport calcium to the bones and to improve its absorption from the kidneys and intestine.

Best sources: Our body makes vitamin D on its own when our skin is exposed to sunlight. So, get 20- to 30-minute exposure to the sun daily; eat salmon, sardines and eggs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed for normal bone development and the formation of collagen, the structural protein in the bone.

Best sources: Citrus fruits, tomato, kiwi, guava, broccoli, and amla (Indian gooseberry).

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Vitamin B 12

Osteoblasts, the body’s bone-building cells, need B12 to function efficiently. Anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with higher risk of osteoporosis (bone weakening).

Best sources: Sources of B12 include dairy products, eggs, fish, meat and poultry.

—Ashok Rajgopal, chairman, Fortis Bone and Joint Institute, FMRI, Gurugram; Vibha Bajpaiee, senior nutritionist, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad