prevent osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease where the density of bone decreases and makes the bone vulnerable. Bone becomes brittle and can easily get damaged. There is no specific symptom when you get affected by osteoporosis. You might experience pain in back, knee or lower back. Those who are affected by osteoporosis have a higher risk of bone fracture even in case of a mild fall or accident than others.

There is no permanent cure for osteoporosis. But good and healthy diet along with weight training can help to find relief up to a certain level. Women are highly prone to get affected by osteoporosis than men. Estrogen plays a very important role in keeping bones in a healthy condition.

When a woman reaches her menopausal age, estrogen levels drop down. This leads to thinning of bones and makes it weaker. There are few women who get affected by osteoporosis even before menopause.

There are many nutritious foods that can improve the strength of bones which will prevent osteoporosis. Let us see what foods to eat more and what foods you should avoid.

A good diet to prevent osteoporosis

Milk and dairy products

Milk and milk products are a very good sources of calcium and essential vitamins/minerals. Regular consumption of milk/milk products like yogurt, cheese, butter, can improve your bone health and increase bone building. There are certain packed milk products that are fortified with vitamin D, that will even more effective to build good and healthy bones.

To prevent osteoporosis, you need to consume 3 servings of milk/milk products every day. Make sure you do not consume lot of sugar/fat when I mean to say milk products. You can opt for skimmed/low fat milk also.

Milk, cheese
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Salmon, tuna and sardines

These mentioned fishes are rich source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for our body that helps to absorb the necessary calcium. Without vitamin D, whatever calcium rich food is consumed, goes waste. You can include salmon in your regular diet at least twice a week. Tuna and Sardines are also a recommended food for daily consumption.

Salmon

Almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds

Almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds are very good source of calcium and minerals. Consuming them on a regular basis will not only strengthen your bones but also provide essential fatty acids and minerals.

You can consume a handful of all three mentioned every day or at least thrice week.

Pista

Fruits and vegetables

There is nothing healthier than consuming fruits and vegetables every day. They are power packed with all necessary vitamins and minerals that can help a healthy living. They help in bone building and maintaining the bone density. Consuming one serving of vegetable and 2 servings of fruits every day can make you healthy.

Legumes

Legumes are generally a very healthy food. It can supply necessary amount of protein, fiber and minerals. When it comes to osteoporosis, it helps in bone building by providing the necessary amount of calcium in it. Legumes need to be soaked for a minimum of 8 hours and cooked properly before consumption.

Eggs

To prevent osteoporosis, protein is also an important part in improving bone health. Eggs are rich in protein and minerals. Fully cooked egg can provide necessary amount of protein that will help to increase bone density and muscle strength.

eggfrying

Physical activities

As I already mentioned, Vitamin D is very important for our body to absorb necessary calcium from food. You can increase Vitamin D through consuming supplements/ food and by exposing yourself to the natural source of Vitamin D – Sun.

Exposing your skin (face, hands and feet) for 15 minutes every day can help you absorb good amount of Vitamin D. Going for a morning walk is the best and easy way. It will also help you to build muscle strength and bone tissues.

If you are affected by osteoporosis, consult a doctor before you start any physical activity like walking or running. Too much workout might increase the pain.

Core muscle building

Weight training in a gym or increasing the muscle strength through Pilates might help to find relief from pain and reduces further damage. Increasing muscle strength will support bone health. Make sure you practice the exercises only from a professional trainer to avoid injuries.

What to avoid?

  1. Alcohol – When you are affected by osteoporosis or if you want to prevent, you need to completely stop consuming alcohol. Heavy or regular alcohol consumption can lead to bone loss.
  2. Caffeine – Coffee, tea or any caffeine products, will intervene in the absorption of calcium by our body. This will directly affect the bone health and lead to reduced bone density.
  3. Soft drinks – The chemicals in carbonated drinks like colas, affects the strength of the bones. Regular consumption of soft drinks can lead to reduced consumption of calcium rich beverages like milk, yogurt, etc.
  4. High sodium content – Salty or high sodium content food can reduce the calcium absorption in our body. Packed and fried food are rich in sodium and they are not good for bones. Even some packed cereals contain high amounts of sodium in it.

Make sure you follow a healthy life style and food habits to prevent osteoporosis. Since there is no permanent cure for this disease, it always better to be careful in what you eat.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.