Osteoporosis is a medical condition that affects people later in life, particularly post-menopausal women. It makes the bones brittle and fragile, as a result of hormonal changes, calcium or vitamin D deficiency.
When it comes to preventing osteoporosis, it’s important to watch your diet and make sure you’re getting the right nutrients to keep your bones strong. Here are the best 8 foods we recommend.
Fish and seafood
Salmon, and other fish and seafoods, are an excellent food for osteoporosis due to their high bone vitamin and mineral content. Once four ounce slice of boiled salmon contains over 100% of your daily vitamin D requirement, for example. Salmon also contain a nice chunk of magnesium and B vitamins, and if you eat canned salmon that still has the bones with it, you’ll receive a nice whack of calcium, too!
Dark green vegetables, like spinach, broccoli and kale, are all highly concentrated sources of the vitamins and minerals you need to prevent and treat osteoporosis. They are really easily absorbed by the body, so you know you’ll be receiving all the goodness they can provide your bones with, which includes a lot of calcium, B vitamins and trace minerals like copper and zinc.
Carrots are high in fibre and along with tomatoes and peppers, are rich in silica, which helps improve bone density. Nosh down some raspberries, avocados, strawberries and beetroot, too, for extra silica.
Artichokes and mushrooms are also well worth their weight in gold for sufferers of osteoporosis, as artichokes are high in phosphorus, and mushrooms are high in copper. Also try adding oats and sunflower seeds, calves liver and cacao (otherwise known as cocoa!). Yes, that includes dark chocolate!
Nuts and seeds of all kinds are healthy for your bones, but pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds may be the best. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, helping to strengthen your bones nicely. Sesame contains plentiful amounts of natural calcium, but make sure you soak these and all nuts and seeds before you eat them for maximum mineral absorption. Soaking them overnight is the perfect way to deactivate the phytic acid that keeps their nutrients safely stored inside so you can enjoy their bone density-improving properties.
Vitamin K, D and calcium
Vitamin D and K make a powerful duo for bone health. Studies show that the combination of K1, K2, D3 and calcium supplements reduces fractures and increase survival in postmenopausal women.
K1 is found in green vegetables, and goes straight to your liver to help your blood clot. K2 is produced by bacteria, strangely, and goes straight to your vessel walls, bones and other tissues. Japanese natto, a fermented soy product is high in K2, but you can also buy it as a supplement.
Calcium directs vitamin K to your skeleton, but it also prevents it from being deposited when you don’t want it – like around your joints! We all know that calcium is vital, and we can get it in the foods above, as well as in wheatgrass juice!
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. The best form to take is D3, which should be available in most health food shops and chemists near you. 15 minutes of sun exposure per day is also recommended.
Vitamin C promotes high bone mass and lowers the risk of fracturing your bones. It suppresses the cells that break down your bones and stimulates the production of bone-building cells. Take a minimum of 500 mg per day to protect your bones. Maximum recommended amounts are around 2000 mg, but discuss how much you should take with your health professional when in doubt.
Vitamin A is essential for good health, but too much can be bad for your bones. Make sure you’re getting less than 10,000 IU per every day. Women may need 2300 IU per day of vitamin A, so take it as a supplement if you are deficient. You’ll want to take in a both beta-carotene and retinol, the precursor and “true” vitamin A. You can also find beta-carotene in mangos, greens and other orange-coloured plant foods. Retinol can be found in fatty fish, eggs and liver.
Exercise plays a key role in preventing and managing osteoporosis, but when it comes to your diet and exercise regime, always consult a specialist to prevent injury and mistakes with your treatment.