Move over, milk—or at least make room for a newcomer to the table. New research suggests that fruits and vegetables may also play an important role in keeping children’s bones strong. That’s great news for anyone with a child who is lactose intolerant or just doesn’t like milk.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee analyzed the diets of 56 eight- to 13-year-old girls and found that those who ate at least three servings of produce a day had larger bones than those who ate less, even though all the girls consumed a similar amount of calcium.
And the study provided a clue to one way that produce might be helping: Because the girls who ate more of it excreted less calcium in their urine, it could be that fruits and vegetables somehow help bones hold on to whatever calcium they already contain.
Similar results have also been seen in adults, so for the whole family’s sake, keep trying to get those five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day.