Osteoporosis reduces the strength and size of your bones. Even a cough can cause a painful fracture or break with this condition. The good news is that whether you’re diagnosed or at risk, it’s never too late to improve your bone health. Regular exercise is essential with osteoporosis. Indeed, the proper diet is also crucial in building and maintaining bone strength.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D gives our bones strength, which is why they are well-established recommendations for osteoporosis. Adults should be getting about 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day, increasing to 1,200 mg for women over age 50 and men over 70.
- Dairy– Milk (including almond and soy), yogurt, or cheese
- Tofu– It’s often made with calcium
- Canned Sardines and Salmon– The calcium comes from their soft bones
- Dark Green Vegetables– Collards, kale, turnip greens, and cabbage
Vitamin D helps enable calcium absorption in the bones. With a bit of sun exposure each day, we can synthesize much of what we need in our skin. Adults should get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, increasing to 800 IU for those age 70 and up.
There are a few good food sources of vitamin D, such as:
- Salmon or swordfish
- Vitamin D-fortified beverages such as cow’s milk, plant-based milk, and juice. Some breakfast cereals and yogurts are also fortified.
- Egg yolks, beef liver, pork, and cheese contain small amounts of vitamin D but can contribute to your total intake over the day.
Protein is essential to forming the underlying structural matrix of the bones. You should be getting at least 15 grams of protein every time you eat. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are the primary sources. Also, remember the protein we can get from plant sources. For example:
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Sunflower seeds
Foods to Avoid
Foods that interfere with bone health should be avoided. These either prevent the absorption of vital nutrients or cause bone loss. These include:
- Caffeine– Coffee, tea, sodas.
- High salt content– Sauerkraut, pickles, salty snacks, and anything packed in brine.
- Alcohol– Limit alcohol intake. Heavy drinking can lead to bone loss.
- Soft drinks– Sodas contain caffeine and other ingredients that interfere with calcium absorption.
You can find a sample nutrition plan for osteoporosis here.
Thanks to breakthroughs in research, not only have we continued to learn more about osteoporosis; we use that knowledge to improve the way we detect, manage, and eventually prevent it. Volunteers participating in clinical studies make these advancements possible. If you are postmenopausal and have osteoporosis, enrolling research studies here at Women’s Health Care Research may help. Call us at (858) 505-8672 or visit our website today for details and how to apply.