Osteoporosis Diet for your Spine
In the prevention
of osteoporosis, diet plays a critical role in the health of your spine,
starting at a very early age. It’s never too early to start making some easy
changes that can help prevent the onset of back and bone disorders.
Learning a few simple
facts about osteoporosis, diet, and the nutrients found in food that your body
uses to protect your spinal health can make healthy eating easier. In this article,
you will find some basic information you can use to make an osteoporosis diet
one you can easily live with for your bone health.
Osteoporosis Diet: What You Need
- Calcium: Calcium is needed to build new bones and to keep them strong. Calcium is also used by the body for other things, but it is stored in the bones. If your body doesn’t have the calcium it needs for its other work, it is robbed from your bones, making them brittle and weak. This is why getting enough calcium in your osteoporosis diet is so important.
- Vitamin D: You need vitamin D in your osteoporosis diet because without it, calcium cannot be absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream.
- Magnesium: Magnesium helps change vitamin D into its active form so it, in turn, can help in the absorption of calcium. It also stimulates a hormone that signals calcium be taken out of blood and soft tissues to be sent to the bones.
- Potassium: Making sure your diet contains enough potassium can decrease the amount of calcium that is taken from the bones.
- Vitamin K: This vitamin is important because it helps calcium and other minerals stay in bone tissue.
- Vitamin C: This vitamin may be able to increase the density of your bones.
Osteoporosis Diet: What to Eat
Calcium: The following foods are good sources of calcium.
Try to include these in your osteoporosis diet.
- Dairy Products: Choose low- or no-fat products, which have the same amount of calcium as the full-fat versions.
- Canned fish: Like sardines, or salmon with bones.
- Vegetables: Leafy, dark green ones like:
- Mustard, collard, dandelion, or turnip greens
- Chinese cabbage
- Fortified foods: Many foods are fortified with calcium, like
orange juice, breads, cereals, or soy milk
Vitamin D: Our primary source of vitamin D is sunlight. The
following foods may contain trace amounts or be fortified with vitamin D and
are helpful to include in your osteoporosis diet.
- Fatty fish: Tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon
- Fortified foods: orange juice, breads, cereals, milk, or soy milk
Magnesium: The following foods are good sources of magnesium
and should be included in your osteoporosis diet:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
Potassium: Potassium is vital to your osteoporosis diet. It
is found in the following foods:
- Plantains and bananas
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Oranges and orange juice
- Prunes and raisins
Vitamin K: To increase vitamin K in your osteoporosis diet,
add these foods:
- Brussels sprouts
- Greens: turnip, collard, or mustard
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is easy to add to your osteoporosis
diet. Find it in the following fruits and vegetables:
- Red and green peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Osteoporosis Diet: Special Tips
- Oxalates: Certain foods contain a high amount of oxalic acid, or oxalates. These foods may also contain calcium, but the oxalic acid inhibits its absorption. Examples of foods containing high oxalates are spinach, rhubarb, and beet greens. These foods are nutritious, but can’t be counted on to supply calcium in your osteoporosis diet.
- Phytates: These substances block calcium’s absorption. They are found in legumes (dried beans) and in wheat bran. The phytate level in beans can be lowered in beans by soaking them in water overnight and then draining the water prior to cooking. If you take a calcium supplement, do not take it with whole-wheat bran cereal because the phytates in the wheat bran will block the calcium’s absorption.
- Salt: A high amount of sodium (salt) in your osteoporosis diet can result in the loss of calcium from bones. To decrease your salt intake, try not to add it to food at the table. Also, try to eliminate processed foods from your osteoporosis diet. Read the nutrition labels on packaged foods. If the sodium content is listed at 20% or greater, the food is not appropriate for your osteoporosis diet. Unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise, you don’t require more than 2,400 mg of sodium daily.
- Caffeine: This is found in most tea, colas, and coffee unless they are labeled “decaffeinated.” It may interfere with calcium absorption, so should be consumed in moderation on an osteoporosis diet.
- Alcohol: Heavy use of alcohol can result in bone loss. Limit your use of alcohol to two or three drinks per day on an osteoporosis diet.
If you typically choose
a well-balanced diet, with plenty of dairy products, fish, vegetable and
fruits, you should be consuming enough of the recommended nutrients for an
osteoporosis diet. If your diet does not meet your needs, or
if you have questions, talk to your doctor about what supplements might be
right for you.
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