Everyone feels their best when they consistently eat a healthy, balanced diet. For people with osteoporosis, nutrition can help you build stronger bones, manage your weight, and avoid developing complications such as diabetes and heart disease.
Some popular diets may contain toxic levels of some nutrients or dangerously low levels of others. Always consult your doctor before adding dietary supplements or making significant changes to your diet.
What does it involve?
A nutritious diet for someone with osteoporosis is not very different from a healthy diet for other people. In general, focus your diet on fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and sources of healthy unsaturated fats such as nuts.
People with osteoporosis need more of some nutrients than other people. Make sure to eat plenty of foods with calcium and vitamin D to fight osteoporosis. Foods rich in vitamin D include tuna, mackerel, salmon, egg yolks, and fortified products such as some milk, soy milk, orange juice, and cereal. Calcium is present in dairy, dark leafy greens such as kale, sardines, and fortified soy milk and orange juice.
Some foods can interfere with calcium absorption. Consume these foods in moderation and with care. Legumes (beans, dried peas, peanuts), nuts, and some seeds contain chemicals called phytates that can lower calcium absorption. However, soaking beans for a few hours before cooking in fresh water reduces the level of phytates. Likewise, foods containing concentrated wheat bran have high levels of phytates that can hinder the absorption of any calcium-rich foods you eat with them. Space calcium supplements and calcium-rich foods two hours before or after foods high in wheat bran. Extremely salty foods can cause the body to lose calcium. Some foods apparently high in calcium, such as spinach, contain high levels of oxalates, a molecule that prevents the calcium in that food from being absorbed.
Make sure you get sufficient protein in your diet, but avoid getting too much. Some popular high-protein diets can have a negative effect on bone mass.
Some beverages can be problematic for people with osteoporosis. Consuming more than three alcoholic drinks per day can lower your calcium levels and promote bone loss. Caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption if you drink too much; more than three cups of coffee a day is enough to affect bone mass. Cola drinks may also have a deleterious effect on bone due to caffeine and phosphorous content.
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet can help build healthy bones and maintain a healthy weight. A healthy diet can also lower your risk for serious complications.
Existing clinical studies support the benefits of a diet containing sufficient calcium and vitamin D and healthy intake of protein for those with osteoporosis. Research has found evidence that food containing high levels of phytates, oxalates, and salt interfere with calcium absorption.
Side effects of some medications, which can include nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, and dizziness, may make it difficult to eat regular meals or focus on a healthy diet.
Fatigue, depression, or physical disabilities may make it more difficult to find the energy to prepare fresh, healthy meals. Making large batches of food in advance and freezing several portions for the future can help conserve energy.
Depending on where you live, it may be harder to get to a grocery store with a good selection of produce and other healthy foods.
For more details, visit:
Food and Your Bones - Osteoporosis Nutrition Guidelines - National Osteoporosis Foundation
Osteoporosis and nutrition: 5 key steps - Mayo Clinic