Foods That Prevent Osteoporosis And Improve Bone Health

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Foods That Prevent Osteoporosis And Improve Bone Health

There are a lot of things we can do as individuals to improve our overall health and reduce our risk for age-related diseases such as osteoporosis. Simple lifestyle changes such as losing excess body weight or exercising regularly can help alleviate pain or decrease the risk. Preventing osteoporosis and improving bone health may include changes to your diet to add in more bone healthy foods.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects many adults as they age. Bones naturally begin to lose density and mass over time. The pace of regeneration in the living tissue cannot keep up with the loss of bone in the body. This causes bones to become weak and brittle.

For someone with advanced osteoporosis, breaks can occur with regularly daily activities like bending or coughing. For this reason, osteoporosis is extremely dangerous and we should do all we can to prevent its effects as we continue to age.

Common symptoms of osteoporosis include:

  • Back pain caused by damage to the bones in the spine
  • Loss of height as the bones in the spine compress
  • A hunched over or stooped posture that is impossible to straighten
  • Easy fracture of bones while conducting normal daily activities

Keep in mind that most patients suffering from the early stages of osteoporosis do not experience any symptoms at all. This is why prevention is extremely important. Also, for those patients with more advanced cases of the condition, breaks that result from falls or other accidents can be nearly impossible to heal and will affect the rest of the patient’s life. Many elderly individuals never recover from breaks caused by osteoporosis.

Because we know that osteoporosis is common as we age, taking a proactive approach to preventing it is highly recommended. Luckily there are many foods that can help lower the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Food that help prevent osteoporosis

Everyone knows that a diet rich in calcium can help provide your body with the essential nutrients to prevent or reverse the effects of osteoporosis. Vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium are also essential building blocks for healthy bones. However, you don’t just have to drink milk to add these to your diet.

Foods to prevent Osteoporosis infographicSome other foods that can help increase your body’s ability to prevent osteoporosis include:

  • Fat free or low fat yogurt
  • Edamame (soy beans)
  • Bok choy
  • White beans
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms

The list goes on. Each of these foods contains essential nutrients for bone health. These include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, or some combination. The more healthy foods you can add to your diet, the better.

It is great, of course, if you just like to snack on almonds or sunflower seeds, but it can be hard to get all of your daily servings of bone healthy foods. Creative recipes can help provide fun new ways to eat these foods without getting tired of them too quickly.

For instance, create a dinner using salmon, edamame, and brown rice to get all the right bone building nutrients in 1 meal. With just a few extra ingredients you can make this delicious and light meal.

Add a little Southern flair to your mealtime with this simple collard greens recipe. The trick for properly preparing collard greens is to eliminate the bitter taste of undercooked greens.

This simple white bean salad sounds like a delicious summertime recipe that can be an alternative to a boring salad.

If you love avocados and black beans, spice up mealtime with this burrito bowl. Adding the super food kale helps round out the dietary requirements as well.

The more creative ways you can add these non-dairy bone healthy foods to your diet, the better position you will be to prevent osteoporosis as you continue to age. Ensuring that you get the proper nutrition is also important for an overall healthier way to age.

Osteoporosis and the bigger picture

There is much more to bone health than just eating the right calcium rich foods. A bone healthy diet is only 1 building block to ensure that your body remains healthy into your elder years. Incorporating a healthy diet into an overall healthy lifestyle is essential to maintaining strong bones throughout your life.

Beyond food, exercise is an important component of avoiding the effects of osteoporosis. Exercise can help strengthen the body and maintain bone mass. Experts recommend exercises that fit into the categories of weight bearing, resistance, and flexibility.

Weight bearing exercises include activities such as walking, dancing, hiking, or stair climbing. Because they rely on outside influences to bear your body’s weight, bicycling and swimming are not considered appropriate for preventing osteoporosis. If you don’t exercise much you can start slowly and increase the duration of walks over time. Even just 3 to 5 miles a week can help strengthen bones.

Resistance training is where you are working against another weight, such as in weight lifting. It can increase bone density and strengthen the body’s muscles. Hit the gym and work with the free weights or weight machines. You can purchase resistance bands or free weights to use at home as well. Adding water aerobics, not just swimming, can also help prevent osteoporosis.

Increasing your body’s flexibility is also an important part of maintaining healthy bones. Always start an exercise routine by stretching your body. To add more flexibility training, enroll in yoga or tai chi classes at your local gym or community center.

It is important to understand your health and safety before starting a new diet or exercise program. Talk with your doctor about your bone health if you plan to add these calcium rich foods and bone building exercises to your daily routine. Your doctor or specialist can work with you to ensure that you are doing everything properly and receive the maximum benefits.

We always want to hear from you! Do you have any favorite recipes that use foods known to promote bone health?

Image by Evan Blaser via Flickr

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About the Author:

At Holistic Pain, we have a passion for helping you and those who around you who suffer from pain find relief. Part of that passion extends to education and transparency. In our Holistic Pain blog, we focus on new research studies, along with our own tips, for maintaining and improving your quality of life, even with pain.

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