Osteoporosis, Bone Health And Food
Having strong bones is just as important to a healthy body than a strong immune system or being at a healthy weight. Did you know that all over the world, a hip fracture happens every 3 seconds?!
In this article, we’re going over exactly why strong bones are important, how to prevent bone loss and telling you all the nutrients and foods you should be eating to keep your bones in tip-top shape!
The Importance Of Strong Bones
Well, this topic may be a bit obvious here but, we have new information you may not have heard of yet. Plus, it is always nice to get a little refresher as to why we should be taking care of bones.
If your bones are weak, it can lead to many different uncomfortable factors. Decreased ability to do normal activities such as carrying in groceries or picking something up off the floor may start to seem like a daunting task. The risk of breaking a bone is much higher in those with weak bones, even if the fall wasn’t too extreme. Plus, it leads to pain that can become chronic and hard to manage.
When the bones become too weak and porous, a condition called Osteoporosis develops and the size of the bones may actually start to shrink. This condition affects over 45 million people in North America and statistics are unfortunately only getting higher.
With that many people suffering, that means lots of people are taking medications to improve bone quality. However, a new study has shown that these prescription meds may weaken their immune system. The drugs are designed to disable sclerostin, which maintains bone density. More studies would need to be done to confirm this fact.
Unfortunately, bones are at their strongest when we’re 18 (for women) and 20 (for men) years old. After 30, the bones start to lose their stores.
All About Osteoporosis
We mentioned the health condition that can come from weakened bones called Osteoporosis. Some symptoms that people may experience is back pain, loss of height, stooped posture and fracture or bone breaks that happen frequently and easily. This can cause people to act more fragile and need to have extreme caution when doing normal daily activities.
- being female
- over 45
- family history
- having a small body frame
Going more in-depth than that, unbalanced hormone levels can also increase your risk of osteoporosis. Having low amounts of estrogen or testosterone has been linked to weakened bones. While having high amounts of thyroid hormone or overactive adrenals can also increase your risk.
Obvious risk factors can be a diet that is low in calcium-rich foods. Vegans can be at a higher risk because they avoid dairy products. (More on calcium-rich foods later in this article!) Or people who have a sedentary lifestyle and lack an exercise routine. This is because weight-bearing exercise can help increase the strength of the bones.
The Most Important Nutrients For Bone Health
Consuming the right nutrients can slow down the process of bone loss and may prevent fractures, weak bones and even Osteoporosis. We put together all the vitamins and minerals you should be eating in your diet and what foods contain the highest sources!
Did you know that 70% of people are deficient in calcium?
This shouldn’t come to a surprise to you that calcium is important for strong bones. It is one of the main elements that bone material is made up of.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt contain high amounts of calcium. However, they may not be the best source for you. Having a dairy sensitivity or allergy is quite common and may even cause inflammation in the body. Plus, dairy is acidic in the body and calcium is neutralizing so, a lot of the time, calcium is actually leeched from the bones to help lower the acidity that the dairy has caused. The United States has the highest number of people diagnosed with Osteoporosis, while being one of the countries who consume the most dairy products…
Good thing there are tons of plant-based calcium sources to choose from if you are not a fan of dairy!
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Chia seeds
- Brussel sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Brazil nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Butternut squash
Post-Menopausal women are at a high risk for weak bones so, most make an effort to consume good quality calcium sources in their diets to prevent that from happening!
A more uncommon important nutrient for strong bones is Vitamin D! Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium into the bones. Many people who are deficient in vitamin D can experience bone loss and more frequent breaks and fractures.
The sun is the best source of vitamin D, however, in colder climates, it may be impossible to get a certain amount every day. Thankfully, food sources such as salmon, trout, canned tuna, mushrooms, fortified soy and dairy products and cod liver oil exist.
Another uncommon nutrient essential for bone health is Magnesium. This mineral is necessary for over 300 enzymes systems and keeping your bones strong is one of them!
Magnesium is needed because it helps the body turn vitamin D into its active form. So, without the right amount of magnesium, vitamin D can’t do its job of getting the calcium into the bones. Everything is linked!
Many people can be deficient in Magnesium and not even realize it. Some symptoms are muscle cramps, sleep problems, low energy and weak bones (duh!).
Some food sources of Magnesium to include in your meals and snacks are:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cacao (If you crave chocolate, that can be a sign of your body needing magnesium!)
- Black beans
Strong Bone Meals And Snacks
Now that you know all the foods that you should be eating for strong bones, how can you incorporate them into your day-to-day life? Well, we put something some snacks you can bring to work with you!
- Breakfast could be greek yogurt topped with sliced banana and chia seeds to give your body a huge dose of healthy bone nutrition first thing in the morning.
- For lunch, you could make a spinach salad topped with avocado, chopped celery and black beans to get tons of calcium and magnesium!
- Homemade trail mix made with almonds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and brazil nuts are a perfect mid-afternoon sweet treat that is free of sugar and filled with healthy fats.
- For dinner, a great option would be some grilled salmon with a vegetable stir fry made with bok choy, broccoli and mushrooms.
See that doesn’t seem too hard, eh?
If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your bones, please see your healthcare professional.
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