Boron is a trace mineral you probably don’t think of when it comes to bone health, and you’re not alone there. We’ve covered Vitamin D, calcium, and even Vitamin K. Many people even remember that magnesium is important for bone health, and most everyone knows we need protein for strong bones. But … what about other trace minerals we need to stay healthy? Boron is one of the most important trace minerals among them all, and the good news is, it’s found in many plant-based foods.
But first, what does boron do?
The Benefits of Boron for Your Bones
Boron helps keep your bones healthy and strong, and it also fuels cognitive function and prevents against bone disease. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are two common bone disorders that many women deal with due to hormonal changes during life, along with nutritional deficiencies that can happen for a variety of reasons. Boron helps preserve bone density, which is important since frail, weak bones lead to most bone disorders and bone loss. Fractures can also occur due to weak bones, which makes getting enough bone-boosting vitamins and minerals into our diets important.
If you’ve been focusing on calcium and protein-rich foods, and maybe even taking Vitamin D supplements and magnesium, then also consider adding some boron-rich foods to your meals, just to be safe. But first, be aware that a little of this mineral will go a long way.
How Much Do You Need?
The good news is, you don’t need very much boron to for healthy bones. The recommended intake is between 15-20 milligrams for adults over 18 age, and 11-16 grams for those younger. To give you an idea of how rich plant-based foods are in this mineral, just one banana and one serving of almonds both boast 2.5 milligrams each. Some other sources below will also offer around the same, while many offer less, depending on how they’re cooked, and how much you eat of them.
Here are some foods rich in boron:
Boron-Rich Foods for Your Bones
Many plant-based foods offer decent to wonderful amounts of boron. Some of the best include: chickpeas, almonds, beans, vegetables, bananas, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, prunes, oranges, red grapes, apples, raisins, pears, and many other beans and legumes.
Boron works in the bone cells to preserve bone density and also help the body utilize calicum, Vitamin D, magnesium, and other trace minerals that keep your bones healthy. As a bonus, it also stimulates the metabolism and improves mental focus, hormone regulation, and your thyroid. It’s even said to help with menopause and weight gain.
Bone-Boosting, Boron-Rich Recipes to Try:
Lentil Loaf with Tomato Glaze
Forget the beef! Lentils are one of the best foods for your health (not to mention your budget). They’re especially great for your bones since they contain iron, protein, B vitamins, and plentiful amounts of boron! They’re also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and are fat and cholesterol-free. Best of all, they’re packed with fiber to keep you full and stave off hunger for hours. This lentil loaf is a great recipe to try if you’re looking for a hearty replacement to your regular meatloaf recipes.
Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownie
Who said dessert has to be unhealthy or boring if it does happen to be healthy? These brownies will prove that you can eat delicious foods that are actually good for you. The best part is these brownies are packed with nutrients that keep your bones healthy, not just boron. Magnesium, B vitamins, calcium, potassium and zinc are all found abundantly here. Try them out and skip the dairy-filled processed brownies you’re used to; your body will like these much better!
The Perfect Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Rich in boron, magnesium, potassium, protein, iron, and calcium, this recipe is a must-make. It would make a perfect breakfast to power you through your day, or even a post-workout shake. Bananas, kale and cacao are three of the best foods to reduce stress, aid in energy production, and keep the body strong. Eat them all combined in a delicious, dessert-like meal.
Protein Packed Hemp Breakfast Crepes
Breakfast crepes for your bones!? Yes, it’s true – life is really good now, right? In all seriousness, these crepes really are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Like a thin pancake, crepes are easier to wrap up, so you can fill them with whatever you want. Here, bananas and hemp seeds are used not just for flavor, but also nutrition. Eat these when you want something that feels a little fancy and indulgent, but that you know will be good for your body and simple to make.
Nutrient Dense Vegola Bars
Don’t these look amazing? Nutrient-dense granola bars you make for yourself at home are so much better than those from the wrappers in those boxes at the store. Store bought options may sound healthy on the label, but contain high doses of refined sugars that can actually weaken your whole body, bones included. They’re also so heavily processed, the whole grains and nutrient-dense fruits and nuts within them, really aren’t even that healthy by the time production is over. Make your own at home, which is a much cheaper and healthier way to stay full through the morning or afternoon hours. Then, keep them on hand all week so you’re never without a healthy snack or portable breakfast.
The Perfect Banana Granola Bars
For another healthy portable snack good for your bones, these granola bars fit the bill. Banana lovers can rejoice through this recipe, which is packed with flavor and the bars are easy to make. Use ripe (heavily spotted) bananas however possible. These are easier to digest and they also taste better in bars and baked goods. They’re also much easier to work with since they’re softer in texture. We love bananas as one of our favorite egg-replacers!
Mexican Flavored Bean Burgers
We all have our Mexican food cravings from time to time, so why not satisfy them in a way that won’t leave us sick or in a food coma afterwards? These Mexican bean burgers will put any typical burrito to shame! They’re packed with veggies, herbs, spices and they contain protein and iron-rich beans that are also great source of boron. Try them out, dip them in some guacamole if needed, or top them with your favorite salsa.
BBQ Lentil Muffins
Portable meals and snacks are great tools to keep on hand if you have a busy lifestyle and are trying to avoid fast or processed foods. That’s why we love these muffins, which could suffice for a meal in a pinch, or at least a healthy on-the-go side item. Packed with lentils and plenty of flavoring, they are also healthy too. Make a batch for the week and pair with some raw veggies or a side salad for a healthy lunch at work or even at home.
Protein-Packed Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Start things off right with not just protein, but also vitamins and minerals like boron that keep your body energized for hours. Here, we have almonds, berries, and chia seeds added to quinoa, which all help support your bones, protein synthesis, brain function and keep your blood sugar in check. Chia seeds even pack more calcium than milk, while almonds also offer a good source too. All the ingredients are excellent sources of boron, so make this meal a part of your bone-building routine. (You also can swap out oats for quinoa if you don’t have any, or just don’t like quinoa too.)
Raw Peanut Butter Cookies
Sure it’s high in calories, but peanut butter is a good source of a variety of nutrients. If you’re not allergic, stick to plain peanut butter without added salts or oils (especially palm oil!), and use it in your rotation of nut butters. Peanut butter should be bought organic since it’s prone to mold and pesticide exposure, and should optimally be kept in the fridge to prevent rancidity and mold further. Packed with iron, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and yes – boron, these cookies are great to make for healthy snacks or breakfast since they’re a no bake, (less processed) option.
Raw Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Unlike most energy bars and bites, no sugar is included in these cookie dough bites, which are no-bake and full of healthy fats. The cacao, almonds, and coconut are all excellent for keeping you full and both cacao and almonds contribute to healthy bones through their iron, B vitamin, protein, zinc, boron, and potassium content. Almonds are also a good source of calcium, while coconut is a great source of healthy fats that the liver uses for energy.
More Bone-Boosting Tips:
You’ll also, of course, need to remember to get enough calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D, all of which you can do on a plant-based diet. Remember that a whole foods diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods is the best way to stay healthy, including taking care of your bones.
For calcium-rich foods, see: The Importance of Calcium and How to Get Enough on a Plant-Based Diet, Meeting Vitamin D Needs on a Plant-Based Diet, and Magnesium: How to Get Enough and Which Ones are Best.
For those wondering about dairy, some research shows that dairy can actually weaken the bones and it’s not overall the best source for us to get our Vitamin D, calcium, or magnesium. Not to mention dairy proteins have been linked to multiple health issues such as hormone disorders, allergies, and cancer. Try some of our dairy-free options instead, such as almond milk, coconut milk, kefir and yogurt, along with multiple vegetable recipes and nut butter recipes that will also boost your bone density. Eating a variety of plant-based foods will surely get you the boron you need to help keep you strong and healthy for life.
Now take care of your bones so they can take care of you!
Lead Image Source: Arya Zaia/Flickr