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Foods That Prevent Osteoporosis

It’s easy to forget how much you rely on your bones. With age comes an increased risk for bone loss and a disease known as osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become porous, fragile and less dense. The result is a high risk for bone fractures. Many don’t even realize they have the disease because it shows no symptoms. A broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis. Protecting your bone health is easier that you may think. Understanding how diet plays a key role is important to reducing your risk of osteoporosis. Here’s how you can feed your bones and increase bone density.

Calcium Maintains Bone Strength

When you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, calcium is drawn from bones to meet your body’s needs. In addition to building strong bones and teeth, calcium helps your blood clot and muscles contract. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women over age 50 and men over 70 get 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Healthy sources of calcium include dairy products like low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. According to numerous studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH), consuming calcium from milk alone may lead to a higher risk of bone fractures as compared to those who consume calcium through milk and additional sources. Therefore, it is recommended to also consume calcium through leafy greens such kale, spinach, and broccoli, as well as tofu, fish and bone broth.

Vitamin D Promotes Calcium Absorption

Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining strong, healthy bones and your body needs it to absorb calcium. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is 25 to 100 micrograms per day. Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as whitefish, salmon, trout and tuna. Mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as cereals and milk, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D.

Protein Gives Bones Strength

Nutrients like calcium give bones their hardness, but it’s protein that forms its underlying structural cast. For many years, researchers thought that high-protein diets could deplete the bones of calcium. But according to NIH, several studies point to a positive effect of high protein intake on bone mineral density. Protein intake depends on body weight and calorie consumption. The standard goal is to get at least 15 grams of protein during every meal. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products are obvious sources of protein. For a vegetarian diet, plant-based protein includes nuts, beans, almond butter, peanut butter and sunflower seeds.

Foods to Avoid to Prevent Osteoporosis

There are a few products and nutrients that can interfere with bone health, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

  • Eating too much salt can cause you to excrete more calcium, leading to bone loss in the long term. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two or three drinks per day.
  • Too much caffeine can increase calcium excretion, but a recent review concluded that there’s little risk to bone health if you don’t exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day, or about 4 cups of coffee.
  • Soft drinks, even diet, are packed with phosphoric acid, which causes an increase in the blood’s acidity levels. As a result, the body pulls calcium out of your bones to bring the acidity levels back to normal.

It’s important to remember there are many risk factors for osteoporosis that you can control. At Lamar Court, our team of experts know exactly what it takes to design a personalized diet that offers great nutrition without compromising taste. We provide seniors in the Johnson County area with resources to nurture health and well-being. If you suspect you or a loved one could benefit with care for osteoporosis or other senior medical problems, contact our skilled team. We’re expertly positioned to help. Feel free to call us at 913-906-9696 for a personal consultation and review of your senior living needs.