Osteoporosis is a bone disease that makes bones become weak and brittle. The word osteoporosis means 'porous bone' which is more prone to fractures. Osteoporotic bones have low mineral density and may break from a fall or even a cough or sneeze. Fractures due to osteoporosis are more likely to occur in the hip, spine and wrist. Older women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
Bone mineral density test is the best way to check bone health. Osteoporosis can be prevented by following a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium. Regular exercise and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption and smoking can also help.
Yogurt is a probiotic dairy product that benefits health in numerous ways. It is a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B2 and B12. Low levels of estrogen during menopause can cause bone loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Daily consumption of yogurt contributes to calcium intake, which benefits bone health. A study published in Archives of Osteoporosis (2013) showed that daily intake of one cup of yogurt increased bone mineral density in the hip, preventing the risk of hip fracture. Fresh berries or other fruits can be added to plain or low-fat yogurt to make it delicious as well as nutritious.
Spinach is a good source of vitamin K, which is important for maintaining bone health. Vitamin K prevents the activation of osteoclasts (breakdown of bone cells). Vitamin K acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and also reduces excretion of calcium through kidneys into the urine. Spinach also contains other bone-supportive nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. A cup of cooked spinach provides approximately 250 milligrams of calcium in addition to other essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and fiber.
Other Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, dark green lettuce and Brussels sprouts can improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures. Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin K. Low levels of circulating vitamin K is linked to low bone density. A study among nurses found that participants who got at least 110mg of vitamin K from dark green leafy vegetables a day were at reduced risk of hip fractures compared to those who ate one serving a week. Other studies have also shown that increased intake of vitamin K reduced the risk of hip fracture in men and women. Vitamin C in broccoli and cabbage significantly improves the absorption of calcium and keeps the bones healthy and strong.
Low calcium intake has been linked to low bone mass and brittle bones. Milk contains two essential nutrients- calcium, which is the foundation of healthy bones and vitamin D that helps build and repair bones. Milk also contains other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. Some observational studies have shown that milk and milk products may have a detrimental effect on bone health. But, many multiple randomized controlled trials have shown that milk has consistently led to improved bone health. Milk consumption decreases the rate of bone loss, leads to improved bone density and lowers the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis.
Salmon and other fatty fish contain bone-boosting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines and tuna also make a perfect osteoporosis diet. Vitamin D in fish helps the body absorb and process calcium. Even fish bones have high calcium content. A study conducted by Ohio State University researchers found that women who had a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer from hip fractures. Including salmon in the diet is a great way to keep the bones strong. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Salmon, haddock, and tuna are good sources of vitamin B12 that help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fracture.
Almonds improve bone healthy by increasing bone density. Almonds are good sources of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. A handful of almonds provides about 80mg of calcium. A study funded by Almond Board of California found that almond consumption can protect against osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
A study published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental
showed that serum obtained four hours following the consumption of an almond meal inhibits osteoclast formation, function, and gene expression in human osteoclast precursors, and provides direct evidence to support the association between almonds and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Legumes such as peas, beans and lentils are high in calcium, magnesium, fiber, and folate that make them the best foods for osteoporosis. Folate in legumes plays a major role in the production of red blood cells, which is necessary to carry out functions such as bone repair and bone maintenance. Legumes are also high in phytates, substances that interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium. So it has been advised to soak, roast or sprout the legumes to inactivate phytates. Sprouted legumes can be added to salads or even mixed with curd for an extra boost of calcium.
Eggs are one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption and healthy bones. Eggs also contain some amount of sulfur, which is crucial for the processing collagen in the bone joints and prevent breakage. Eggs also contain B-complex vitamins such as B6, B12, and folate. Low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to osteoporosis. The three B vitamins reduce homocysteine (amino acid) levels in the body. High levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of hip fracture in elderly, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Absorption of calcium can be improved by eating bananas. Bananas contain a compound called fructooligosaccharides, that nourishes the gut bacteria and increases the absorption of bone-strengthening nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Adding bananas to yogurt or milkshakes aids in better absorption of calcium, thus improving bone health. Potassium in banana appears to counteract the increased urinary calcium loss and prevent bone thinning. A study conducted on postmenopausal women found that women who consumed potassium-rich fruits and vegetables were less likely to excrete calcium in the urine.
Calcium and vitamin D fortified cereals play a major role in helping people achieve an adequate calcium intake, especially for those with lactose intolerance. For people who do not include fish or dark green leafy vegetables in their diet, fortified foods and fortified breakfast cereals are an ideal choice to get vitamin D and calcium. Eating at least one serving of fortified foods regularly can provide the essential nutrients.
Tips to Prevent Bone Loss
Reduce salt intake to cut calcium loss. Salt
increases the amount of calcium that can dissolve into the bloodstream
and pass out in urine. Avoid salty snacks, canned foods and limit the use of salt while cooking.
Avoid carbonated beverages as it is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density and increase the risk of fracture.
Quit smoking. Studies have shown that smokers are at high risk for fracture.
Limit caffeine consumption as it leaches calcium from bones.
Go easy on alcohol as it can weaken the bones by reducing the body's ability to make new bones.
Stay physically active to keep the bones strong and to reduce calcium losses.