Written by: Nancy Robinson RDN, January 22, 2015
Don’t underestimate the power of food when it comes to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. A bone-healthy diet is about more than getting enough calcium and vitamin D. While calcium and vitamin D are essential to healthy bones, strong bones require other nutrients and diet modifications as well. Here are the basic principles of a bone-healthy diet:
1. Includes nine or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables with two-thirds of those being vegetables.
2. Includes 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal (3 meals per day). Meets protein needs for strength training as well.
3. Is adequate in calcium with an emphasis on getting calcium from food. If that is not possible, then only supplements at the level needed beyond what is not obtained from food.
4. Good food sources of vitamin D and a supplement when necessary.
5. Limits or eliminates the use of processed foods, especially those with phosphorus-containing additives. Phosphorus is an essential building block for bone, but too much can result in reduced calcium absorption. Many processed foods are high in phosphorus containing food additives.
6. Is a varied diet that regularly includes seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains, with very few to no refined grains.
7. Meat and dairy products come from grass fed animals, when possible. Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals are higher in Vitamin K2 than their grain fed counterparts. K2 is key to the body’s process of drawing calcium into the bones and incorporating it into the bone matrix.
8. Includes good food sources of vitamin B12 and a supplement if needed.
9. Limit alcohol consumption to moderate use and only if, not contraindicated for other health reasons. Avoids excessive salt intake. Avoid or limit the amount of high sodium processed and restaurant foods eaten.
10. Avoids excessive salt intake. Avoid or limit the amount of high sodium processed and restaurant foods eaten.
11. Avoids drinking sodas, especially cola drinks.
12. Includes consumption of adequate fluids.
The added bonus is that when you eat bone healthy meals you are also eating a diet that reduces the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers.
More about Nancy:
Nancy Robinson RDN is a dietitian nutritionist specializing in osteoporosis nutrition. For more information about eating for healthy bones visit her website at www.food4osteoporosis.com.