Foods to Manage (and Prevent) Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can have a crippling effect on your bones, and your life. However, the bone degeneration disease - associated mostly with post menopausal women - can be slowed and prevented by the proper diet. While medications exist to treat the disease, there are many dietary changes that can be made that will have a positive effect both on the strength of your bones and your overall health.
Bone-healthy diets are a lot like most any kind of healthy diet, only they focus on a few areas for special attention. Namely, calcium and vitamin D are essential, and the intake levels of these nutrients are important to maintaining healthy bones. These diets will not help rebuild bone loss associated with aging, but they can also slow it. And they can help to rebuild bone loss associated with prolonged bed rest or other issues in younger people.
Calcium is a cornerstone of the bone-healthy diet. While supplements are available, the best way to get calcium is through the foods in which it naturally occurs, such as dairy. Check with you doctor to determine whether your calcium needs can be met through diet alone or in conjunction with supplements. Most adults should aim for about 1,000 mg daily before the age of 50. After menopause, that should jump to 1,200 mg daily. More than 2,500 mg has been shown to have negative side effects, so keep to below that level.
Calcium occurs naturally in dairy products. Those who also have lactose intolerance issues can consider an over the counter enzyme to help with that problem, or yogurt, which is generally better tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. Other sources of calcium include dark, leafy green vegetables like broccoli and canned sardines.
Vitamin D is also important as it helps the body absorb calcium. Many people are generally low in the vitamin, a problem which has worsened as concerns have grown around sun exposure (the best source of vitamin D). About 15 minutes of sun exposure per day (without sunscreen) is all you need to get your daily does of the vitamin. For those who cannot be in the sun, supplements are available. Also, the vitamin is found in egg yolks, salmon, tuna and sardine.
Also, make sure you have plenty of fresh colorful produce in your diet. These high-alkaline items can help with the retention of calcium in the body.
Limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Again, there are many good reasons to do just that, bone health being one of them. Stick to moderate levels, which are one drink for women and two for men per day.
And, avoid caffeine, carbonated beverages and salt. All of these food items work against the creation and maintenance of strong bones.
The effects of osteoporosis can be greatly impacted by simply watching what you eat and ensuring that you are getting sufficient levels of calcium and vitamin D. Beyond that, eat a healthy diet of fresh produce and certain fishes, and you are on your way to better bones in the future.