While osteoporosis may be common, that doesn’t mean it is a necessary part of aging. With a few dietary and lifestyle improvements you can build strong bones resistant to the disease.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become porous when they are weakened by large withdrawals of minerals, including calcium, over long periods of time. They become prone to breaks and fractures as a result. It is currently understood that one in two women over the age of 50 will experience a bone fracture in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. Here are some simple strategies to help you avoid suffering from this painful and debilitating disease:
Eat more calcium-rich foods.
These include carob, salmon, sardines, soybeans, kelp, leafy greens, sesame seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), oats, navy beans, almonds, millet, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kale, tofu and broccoli.
Eat a mineral-rich diet beyond calcium.
Osteoporosis is not just a calcium-deficiency disease. The bones need many other nutrients to remain strong, including: boron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silica and zinc. Here are some of the best food sources for each of these minerals:
Boron—Leafy greens, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets, beet greens, fish, tomatoes, legumes, nuts, fruits, squash and whole grains.
Magnesium—Apples, figs, lemons, peaches, kale, chard, celery, alfalfa, beet greens, whole grains, brown rice, leafy greens, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and wild salmon.
Manganese—Nuts, pineapple, whole grains, spinach, beets, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, peas, kelp, tea, apricots, blueberries, bananas and citrus fruits.
Phosphorus—Whole grains, seeds, nuts, eggs, fish, poultry, dried fruits and legumes.
Potassium—Bananas, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, apricots, tomatoes, watercress, sunflower seeds, whole grains, potatoes, poultry and fish.
Silica—Flax seeds, oats, whole grains, almonds, sunflower seeds, celery, apples, strawberries, grapes, kelp, beets, onions and parsnips.
Zinc— Sprouted seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, onions, nuts, leafy greens, peas, beets, beet greens and carrots.
Exercise on a daily basis.
Exercise, particularly weight-bearing varieties, help to strengthen bones and coax calcium and other minerals into the bones to make them stronger. Some of the best forms of exercise for building bone mass include: weight-lifting, brisk walking, jogging, working out on an elliptical trainer, in-line skating, rebounding (on a mini-trampoline) or yoga.
Cut out cigarettes.
Smoking cigarettes has been linked to bone depletion and is best avoided.
Use only essential medications as some medications deplete bones.
Some of these medications include: corticosteroids (often used in asthma, COPD or arthritis), thyroid medications, anti-seizure drugs, some anti-depressant medications, hormone therapy, used to treat prostate cancer and others.
Eat a grapefruit every day.
Research in the medical journal Nutrition found that the addition of grapefruit to animals’ diets reduced the rate at which bones broke down while also boosting their mineral content. But, grapefruit doesn’t just boost calcium and magnesium absorption. It contains powerful plant compounds known as lycopene and naringin which boost bone health. Lycopene is also found in tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries.
Find ways to reduce or manage stress.
Stress contributes to osteoporosis so it is best to find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Change jobs if you’re unhappy, leave relationships or friendships that cause undue stress and live below your means if you’re dealing with financial stress. Try yoga, meditation, walking, singing or other stress release to help you cope with stress.
Add the herb horsetail to your daily regime.
Research published in the medical journal Cell Proliferation, scientists found that the herb improved the ability of cells that lay down bone matrix to build bone. The herb also reduced the likelihood of bone infection.
Get moderate sunlight or supplement with vitamin D.
Vitamin D is necessary to build strong bones. Choose only the natural form, vitamin D3 and be sure to get at least 400 IU; however older women may need more than that so check with your nutritionist.