Osteoporosis and low bone mass impact approximately 52 million Americans. Recent studies suggest that approximately 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Here are some helpful tips that can hopefully reduce your risk by supporting your bone health, naturally!
- Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, coffee, soft drinks, tobacco and alcohol.
- Choose whole foods, especially organic, whenever possible. Eat a variety of them, vegetables and fruits especially, paying special attention to those foods that are high in bone-supporting nutrients: calcium, magnesium, boron and other minerals, Vitamins A, D, E and K, B-vitamins, C, etc. The boron in pears, for example, helps to prevent osteoporosis. The Vitamin E and calcium in almonds, for example, also make this food a good choice.
- Fresh foods are preferable to frozen; frozen foods are always preferable to canned.
- Avoid excessive intake of animal protein as well as overall protein deficiency. Daily protein goal is approximately 0.8g/kg body weight. Excess protein can lead to a high metabolic production of acids that can leach minerals from the bones.
- Rely heavily on plant protein sources such as legumes, nuts and seeds, as opposed to meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Cold-water fish (halibut, mackerel, salmon, tuna, etc.), in moderation, is still a good protein source and has other nutritional benefits, such as omega-3 essential fatty acids and Vitamin D.
- A diet high in vegetables and fruits favors an optimal physiological phosphorus/calcium ratio and acid/alkaline balance, preventing the accelerated calcium loss that is observed in individuals who consume a diet high in meat, dairy products and grains.
- Use organic low-fat or non-fat dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables that are high in absorbable calcium. The vegetables highest in calcium (in order of calcium content) include turnip greens, lambs quarters (herb), collard greens, rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, dandelion greens, mustard greens and kale.
- Other non-dairy foods that contain significant calcium include oatmeal, fortified rice milk/soy milk/nut milk, soybeans and tofu, sesame seeds and tahini, sea vegetables, chick peas, molasses, almonds, filberts, chestnuts, baked beans, oranges, halibut, flounder, clams, oysters, shrimp, canned sardines or salmon with bones.
- Eat salads and dark green leafy vegetables with lemon juice or cider vinegar to help increase calcium absorption.
- Some studies indicate that foods such as spinach, chard, beet greens and chocolate contain oxalates that bind with calcium, preventing its absorption.
- Phytic acid found in wheat and oats will bind calcium and prevent its absorption.
- Weight Bearing Exercise supports remolding and maintence of bone density.
- Vitamin D testing can help determine if your vitamin D needs to be supplemented.
by Julia Strickler, ND*. Dr. Strickler is available for consultation at the Central, Westlake and South Peoples locations.
*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.