Nutrition and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones.  It is a condition of decreasing bone mass that causes the bones to become porous and brittle. Osteoporosis “literally means ‘porous bone’.  This disease is characterized by too little bone formation, excessive bone loss, or a combination of both, leading to fragility and an increased risk of fracture of the hip, spine, and wrist.”

Our bodies are constantly repairing and rebuilding tissue, bones being one of them.  From birth through young adulthood, in most cases, we have the ability to regenerate healthy bones.  As we progress through middle age, our bodies start losing the ability to regenerate and repair tissue, quickly making it difficult to build new strong bones.  By the time women are post-menopausal, estrogen, a hormone responsible for bone health, declines.  Osteoporosis is more prevalent in post-menopausal women, however, it can also affect elderly men.

Are There Any Symptoms For Osteoporosis?  

There usually are no symptoms associated with osteoporosis which makes it hard to detect.  As the disease progresses, you may notice you’re getting shorter and or see your upper spine area becoming more rounded and bulging. Many times people don’t know they have the disease until there’s been a fracture or through a bone mineral density test.  It’s been named the silent disease for that reason.

What Causes Osteoporosis?  

1 – Lifestyle habits such as not getting enough movement or exercise regularly, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

2 – Poor nutrition – eating the Standard American Diet which is high in processed foods.

3 – It can be hereditary.  Studies have shown that certain genes play a large role in developing osteoporosis.2

Other Risk factors are:

1 – Not getting enough sunlight.  Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D from being in the sunlight.  

  • Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced in the kidneys which controls the blood calcium concentration
  • Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption

2 – Smoking – smoking affects the absorption of calcium by reducing the blood supply to the bones

3 – Drinking alcohol daily or excessively is believed to be correlated with slowing the production of bone mass.  

Nutrition, the Bad and the Good

Nutrition can be tricky when it comes to knowing what to eat for certain medical conditions.  While some foods to avoid eating are obvious, like candy bars, ice cream, and French fries, other foods may surprise you.  For example, beans, legumes, whole grains, spinach, beet greens, and soy are all a great part of a healthy diet due to the many nutrients they offer our bodies.  Here’s the caveat. Those foods I just listed contain phytates and oxalates which may have an effect on bones. Beans, legumes and whole grains contain phytates which are antioxidant compounds found in these foods that bind to certain essential minerals and can decrease their absorption of calcium.  While it’s fine and important to continue eating beans, legumes and whole grain, it’s best to soak them for at least 12 hours to decrease the number of phytates.  

Oxalate containing foods are spinach, beets, chard, nuts and nut butters.  Oxalates are compounds that can also interfere with the absorption of calcium.  Steaming or boiling these foods helps to reduce the oxalates.

You can greatly reduce your risk of osteoporosis or stop its progression if you’ve already been diagnosed with it by changing certain lifestyle habits.  Include more weight-bearing exercise, stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, and get out in the sun daily for a few minutes. The adoption of a diet of whole, mostly plant-based foods in all the colors of the rainbow should have you on the road to stop the progression of osteoporosis.

There are a number of charts reproduced below which will help you decide how to make dietary adjustments.

Foods to Avoid Why
Alcohol Poor calcium & Vitamin D absorption affecting the liver
Salt High salt intake increase calcium in the urine which means less bone rebuilding
All Processed Foods Need I say more? Many processed foods are high in sodium and other chemicals that leech calcium from the bones.

 

Protein from Animals

Including Meat & Dairy

Meat and dairy are acidic.  Our bodies are always working towards being in more alkaline. When there’s too much acidity in the body, calcium will help to neutralize the body.  In order for that to happen, calcium is taken from the bones which can weaken the bone
Caffeine in coffee, dark tea and dark sodas Drinking these beverages will allow your bones to lose its ability to absorb calcium and magnesium.

 

Look in the chart below to see which foods contain these essential vitamins and minerals to promote bone health.  These foods contain some of the highest amounts of plant-based calcium. Magnesium, Manganese, zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K are minerals and vitamins that work synergistically to maintain and support bone health.  

 

Healthy Food Vitamin/Mineral Important for Osteoporosis Best way to cook for nutrient content
Beans, Legumes & Whole Grains Beans have essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium and fiber.  They also have phytates which decrease calcium absorption. Soak Beans for at least 12 hours. Drain then rinse.  Place 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or one piece of Kombu seaweed in cooking water.  This will help reduce flatulence.
Broccoli Vit K-which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Vit C- aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese- also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Magnesium – known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Calcium – key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Vit D – key for maintaining bone structure

Steam for no longer than 4 minutes

to preserve the nutrients

Brussel

Sprouts

Vitamins K-which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

C- aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Magnesium – known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Calcium- key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Steam for no longer than 5 minutes to preserve the nutrients
Carrots Vitamins K-which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Vit C- aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese- also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Steam for no longer than 5 minutes to preserve the nutrients
Cauliflower Vit C – aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Vit K-which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Manganese- also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Magnesium- known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Steam for no longer than 5 minutes to preserve the nutrients
Kale Vitamins K – which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

C – aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese- also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Calcium- key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Magnesium- known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Steam for no longer than 5 minutes to preserve the nutrients
Collard Greens Vit K – which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Vit C- aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese – also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Calcium – key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Magnesium – known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Steam for no longer than 5 minutes to preserve the nutrients
Naval Oranges Vit C – aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Calcium- key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Wash, peel and eat.  Store at room temp for up to 5 days or in the Fridge for up to 10 days
Raisins Vit K- which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Vit C – aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese- also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Magnesium – known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Buy organic and enjoy eating raw
Blueberries Vit K- which helps prevent fractures by increasing BMD

Vit C- aids in the production collagen which is a protein that plays a role in bone structure

Manganese also plays a vital role in the production of collagen

Calcium – key mineral for maintaining bone structure

Magnesium – known for bone metabolism and maintaining sufficient calcium

Wash and eat.

 

Nov 2018 Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, and directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311.