Food for your Bones – Diet suggestions for preventing and treating Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

April 26th, 2012

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone tissue, leading to enhanced bone fragility and a consequential increase in fracture risk.

 In the United States, the estimated prevalence of osteoporosis is high, affecting 20-30 million people. The major risk factors for osteoporosis are increased age, female gender, white or Asian race, positive family history of osteoporosis and thin body build. Other risk factors include decreased lifelong exposure to estrogen, low calcium intake (affected also by low stomach acid and Vitamin D deficiency), sedentary lifestyle (lack of weight-bearing exercise), cigarette smoking, chronic alcohol and drug use, and diet.

 The primary goals in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis are to: (1) preserve adequate mineral mass (2) prevent loss of the protein matrix and other structural bone components and (3) assure optimal repair mechanisms to repair damaged areas of bone. 

 Call us at Vitalia to find out how you can strengthen your bones with diet and nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathic medicines. 

 How to feed your bones:

 •            Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, coffee, soft drinks 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 always preferable to frozen and frozen foods are always preferable to canned.

•            Avoid excessive intake of animal protein as well as overall protein deficiency. Daily protein goal is 0.8g/kg body weight. Excess protein can lead to a high metabolic production of acids that can leach minerals from the bones.

•            Rely more 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.

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