This article first appeared in Women’s Running

Prevent stress fractures by keeping track of these essential nutrients for your skeleton and your blood.

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This nutrient stimulates the production of calcitonin, a bone-preserving hormone. It also helps your body process vitamin D and calcium. Good sources are almonds, bananas, avocados, dried beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains.

Vitamin K

Required for the synthesis of osteocalcin, which provides structure to bone tissue, vitamin K comes in two forms. Good sources of K1 are dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach. K2 is produced from bacteria in fermented foods, such as ripe cheese and yogurt, and from bacteria in the intestinal tract.


Required to produce healthy red blood cells, folacin (aka folic acid) can be found in lentils, garbanzo beans, asparagus, orange juice, spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin plays a role in red blood cell development and the metabolism of folacin. Because it occurs naturally only in animal foods, vegetarians and vegans may require supplementation.

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