What Does an Osteoporosis Diet Look Like?
Bone health is an important thing to keep in mind as we age. Of course, we all want to age gracefully. Taking care of the inside as well as the outside is crucial to keep the body strong and feeling good. Your bones are essential to keep your body active so you can go about your activities without worry of injury. Osteoporosis can significantly have major unpleasant impacts on our life, but an osteoporosis diet can help the symptoms.
Wonder what foods are good for your bone health? Want to know what food items to avoid if you want to prevent osteoporosis? Read on to find out more about osteoporosis, its symptoms, and what to eat and not to eat to keep your bones healthy.
What Is Osteoporosis?
We make bones throughout our lives. Bone matter is lost and regained as a natural rejuvenating process. When we are young, we produce more bone mass than we lose, that is why we grow into adults. As we age, this process reverses and by the time we are in our 50s, we lose more bone mass than we make.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle and weak, making them fracture easily. Over 50 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, which puts them at risk for injuries such as bone fractures. Osteoporosis occurs more often in middle aged women than men.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is mostly a symptomless condition. People often do not know that they have osteoporosis or low bone density until they break a bone. Bone loss is painless, but a fracture is not. This is usually the first indication and the red flag for your doctor to test if you have osteoporosis or not.
There are some subtle signs that you can watch out for. Some early signs of osteoporosis may include:
- Brittle nails
- Weak grip
- Receding gums
- Back or neck pain
- Loss of height or hunchback
Osteoporosis cannot be felt and you can be living with the condition without knowing. Sometimes there are genetic factors that can trigger the disease, but there are things you can do to help maintain your bone health. What you eat can have a huge impact on your bone mass.
Foods to Avoid with Osteoporosis
Some food and drink items are known to have negative impacts on bone mass and should be diminished or avoided altogether to help keep your bones healthy.
Salt is a significant contributing factor to the loss of calcium and bone minerals. The average American diet contains excessive levels of salt that can lead to a multitude of health issues, including osteoporosis. The recommended daily intake of salt is 2,300 milligrams, which is roughly a teaspoon of salt. Americans consume approximately 4,000 milligrams of salt per day. That’s nearly double the healthy intake.
Make sure you become aware of your sodium intake. You can usually find the sodium content on labels. Preparing your own meals and reducing eating out in restaurants will also provide you with clearer salt consumption.
Soft drinks and other carbonated drinks that contain phosphoric acid contribute to the loss of calcium. Excessive soda consumption can speed up the loss of bone mass.
Caffeine is another contributing element that drains the body of essential calcium. Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but in soda and tea as well.
What Foods Can Trigger Symptoms
Food and drinks high in salt, phosphoric acid and caffeine all contribute to the loss of calcium the body needs to keep bones healthy and strong.
Some items you may want to consider cutting back on in your diet are:
- Processed foods. Processed foods like bread, cereals, canned soups and frozen meals all contain high amounts of salt.
- Fast food. We all know that fast food usually does not supply much essential dietary vitamins and minerals. Aside from being high calorie food, fast food contains extremely high levels of salt. It’s what makes fast food taste so good. Hamburgers, fries, pizza and tacos all have a lot of salt.
- Processed meats. Processed meats like cold cuts and hotdogs also are high in salt content and should be consumed in moderation in order to cut back the daily salt intake.
Bone Healthy Foods
Now, you know what foods to avoid to keep bones healthy and possibly prevent osteoporosis, but what can you eat to keep your bones healthy and strong?
Calcium is one of the primary sources of bone health. As we mentioned, calcium is also easily lost through certain foods and drinks. Make sure you get enough calcium in your diet through low fat dairy products, fish, fruits and vegetables. You may also consider adding a calcium supplement.
Vitamin D is essential to help the body absorb calcium. The best place for your body to assimilate vitamin D is through sun exposure. You can also add fatty fish like salmon or sardines that contain vitamin D to your diet. You’ll also find vitamin D and calcium fortified breakfast items.
Talking to Your Doctor
Speak with your doctor if you are over 50 and are concerned about your bone health. They may order a
bone density test.
Osteoporosis cannot be cured, but you can make some changes in your diet to provide your bones with enough calcium and minerals that are necessary to keep them strong. Strong bones equal a strong body. A strong body equals a happy and active life.