In osteoporosis prevention, diet plays a crucial role – along with exercise. While growing up you probably didn’t think too much about eating foods that could prevent osteoporosis. Sure, you enjoyed dairy products, but that was probably never a conscious effort to start promoting later-in-life bone health at a young age.
Now that you’re older, your doctor has expressed some concerns about your bones – especially if you’ve gone through menopause. That is because as we age – women especially – bone loss occurs, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and fragile because of bone loss. Even minor injuries that most people bounce back from are harder to recover from with osteoporosis. Preventing osteoporosis is key to avoiding injury and disability and continuing to live an active life.
One means of preventing osteoporosis is through an osteoporosis diet plan. You can eat your way to stronger bones. If your doctor has raised concerns about your bones or you just want a head start in prevention, here is how to prevent osteoporosis naturally.
Related Reading: Exercise benefits for osteoporosis: Reduces bone fracture risk
Although osteoporosis can affect both men and women, it is most commonly found in women. But why? We know osteoporosis is a result of bone loss, but why are we losing bone?
Just like many other functions in the body, there is always a renewal. Take blood for example; it goes through our body as new but picks up waste along the way, so it removes the waste and filters itself, making new blood once again. This is similar in bones as well. Old bone gets broken down and new bone is built. But, as we age, new bone growth slows dramatically, leaving much more old bone. If you developed a lot of bone mass growing up through healthy eating and exercise, your risk of osteoporosis is much less than for someone who doesn’t have as much bone mass.
Related Reading: Surprising risk factors for osteoporosis
If you’re concerned that you didn’t create enough bone mass growing up, don’t fret; there are foods that help osteoporosis, which you can start enjoying today.
Bones require two essentials to keep them strong: Calcium and vitamin D. These are both elements that can be found in the foods we eat. If we plan accordingly, we can enjoy an osteoporosis nutrition plan that will meet the supply our bones need to stay strong.
Calcium is stored within our bones. Bone density refers to the amount of calcium and other minerals within your bones. This, too, can decrease over time. Recommended calcium is about 1,200 milligrams a day which, as mentioned, can come from the foods we eat.
Getting enough calcium may be problematic for some who have allergies or intolerances to dairy, but there are many other food options which can still help you fulfill your daily dose of calcium.
Calcium also aids in the function of muscles, nerves and cells.
There is a wide variety of food rich in calcium. Some high-calcium food options are:
As you can see, there are many different options when it comes to boosting your calcium intake. Enough, actually, to build an effective osteoporosis diet plan.
Related Reading: Calcium Rich Foods, Recipes for a Calcium Rich Diet
Vitamin D works hand in hand with calcium to ensure your bones stay healthy and strong. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, so even though you’re taking in enough calcium, without vitamin D you may not be getting all of its benefits. Lack of vitamin D can also lead to bone loss and lower bone density.
Currently, adults over 50 should have 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D. This number may be different for some but should not exceed 4,000 IU, according to the Institute of Medicine.
You’ve likely heard that sunlight can provide us with vitamin D. But the sun may not always be accessible, especially during winter months. Unless you live close to the equator, here are the foods you can enjoy to boost your vitamin D:
Now that you are aware of the recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D, as well as their role in bone health and the foods rich with them, it’s time to put together your osteoporosis diet plan.
You have endless options when it comes to creating dishes that contain foods that help osteoporosis, but below are three recipes that can help kick-start your diet plan.
From breakfast to lunch to dinner, these meals incorporate foods that help osteoporosis and aid in osteoporosis prevention. So why not begin your osteoporosis diet treatment today?
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt to taste
2 slices sprouted grain bread, toasted
Mash together the avocado, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Spread onto the toast and enjoy. Serves 1.
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
2 oz. raw baby spinach
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
6 extra-large whole wheat tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
Guacamole, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese (use as many as you want)
1 cup black beans (or any beans of choice)
1 cup kidney beans (or any beans of choice)
1 cup pinto beans (or any beans of choice)
1 cup green beans, ends removed and chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 celery stalks, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
1 cup broccoli florets and stems, chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, or 6 oz. can of tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup tamari
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 handful of freshly washed spinach leaves
1 cup wild rice pasta shells
Optional: shredded cheese
Of course, when enjoying your osteoporosis diet plan there are some foods you should avoid as they can increase bone loss. Some foods to steer clear of are:
These food items are not only unhealthy, but they can aid in bone loss as well. So if you’re looking to prevent osteoporosis, avoid these bone-killer food items.
Our diet has the ability to greatly influence our health, so by picking the right foods we can live well and experience strong bones for years to come. By knowing what to eat and what not to eat, your osteoporosis diet plan can be most effective.
Strong bones mean a strong body and it’s not too late to start enjoying foods that help osteoporosis. Try some of the recipes provided or maybe whip up some on your own. In either case your bones will remain strong so you don’t have to live with fear of fractures or missing out.
Stand tall and proud and consider this: In many ways, our bones define who we are. They give us our size and shape, they also keep us moving and upright. We wouldn’t get very far without them – but when was the last time we did our bones a solid favor and investigated our bone mineral density normal range or looked into foods for improving bone density?
Our bones are our body’s foundation. But as we age, they can become weak and prone to breaking. There are numerous ways to keep bones healthy, like taking in the right nutrients, eating a balanced diet and avoiding injury.