Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist, or spine.
There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of osteoporosis. But when your bones are weakened by osteoporosis, these symptoms can occur:
– Low back pain caused by a broken or collapsed vertebra
– Loss of height over time
– A crooked posture
– A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
Like every living tissue, bones also need nutrients. A key component in both managing and preventing osteoporosis is good nutrition.
Is there a diet for bone health? Answer: Yes. Here are five steps to good nutrition for strong bones.
Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Studies show that eating more vegetables and fruits improves bone health. The nutritional content of vegetables and fruits is generally low in calories and fat and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They also contain phytochemicals that may help protect against a variety of diseases, including osteoporosis.
Eat four or more servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit each day. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of magnesium, potassium and vitamins C, K and A. These play a role in maintaining bone health.
Also eat four servings of grains daily. Choose whole grains whenever possible, because whole grains contain more nutrients than refined grains, especially magnesium and fiber.
Choose healthy sources of protein and fat
Protein is important for bone health. Because it is an essential component of bone tissue and plays a role in the protection of bone. The best choices are fish, skinless poultry and lean meats, along with plant proteins like beans and nuts. Plant proteins are rich in plant compounds that help maintain bone. Dairy products such as milk and plain yogurt are another good source of protein and also provide calcium, which benefits bone health. Protein should make up 25 to 35 percent of total daily calories.
You need some fat in your diet for your body to function properly. The best options are monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil. Cold water fish also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. However, even these oils should be consumed in limited quantities. Avoid saturated fats, which have been shown to be harmful to bone health in adults.
Get plenty of calcium
Calcium is critical for bone health. This mineral is the basic building block of bone and helps prevent bone loss and osteoporotic fractures in the elderly. This target is often not met, although the recommended daily intake for most adults is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) or more.
If you’re not getting enough calcium, try to increase your intake of foods high in minerals. Milk and dairy products are the richest dietary sources of calcium.
If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, you should take a calcium supplement. A calcium supplement is often recommended for postmenopausal women because it can reduce bone loss. However, calcium should not be taken alone. Vitamin D is essential for proper calcium absorption, and magnesium directs calcium to bone, keeping it away from soft tissues.
Limit sugar, salt and phosphate
Processed foods that contain sugar often contain a lot of calories, additives and preservatives. And yet they contain very small amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Therefore, you should limit processed foods and drinks. Sugary drinks are often the biggest culprit.
Too much salt in your diet can also be harmful. Salt not only causes high blood pressure, too much salt can also increase the amount of calcium you excrete from your body through urine. Aim for 2,300 mg of salt per day, about a teaspoon.
Phosphorus is used as an additive in many processed foods. Too much phosphorus in your diet can interfere with calcium absorption from your small intestine.
To limit your intake of these problem ingredients, check labels on processed foods you buy at the grocery store and choose fresh foods whenever possible.
Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
Consuming alcoholic beverages accelerates bone loss and reduces your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Try eliminating alcohol completely from your life. Drinking alcohol with meals reduces the absorption of calcium.
Caffeine may slightly increase calcium loss during urination. Moderate consumption of caffeine, about 2-3 cups of coffee a day, won’t hurt as long as your diet contains enough calcium.