(WellnessPursuits.com) – An estimated 200 million people around the world have osteoporosis, a condition that causes low bone density and can cause us to experience fractures or bone breaks more frequently. Experts in the field know that genetics play a big role in the disease. As a matter of fact, having a relative with the condition increases your likelihood of developing it, too.
Despite this, there is also a lifestyle component to osteoporosis. Regular exercise, a nutrient-dense diet and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking can help prevent or delay onset. The food we eat does more than keep us full. It also provides us with essential nutrients that can keep our bodies running and strong for a lifetime.
Want to eat for stronger bones? Here’s what to put on your plate.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh and frozen produce can provide the body with a wide variety of nutrients and should be eaten daily. All adults should be eating a minimum of four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit each day.
Specifically, for osteoporosis prevention, you need to consume foods that are high in vitamins A, K, and C, along with nutrients like potassium and magnesium. This means fruits and veggies of all colors, including dark, leafy greens, peppers, oranges and bananas.
2. Whole Grains
Avoid highly processed carbohydrates and eat whole grains daily. Foods like whole grain bread, bulgar, quinoa and pastas can provide the body with iron, magnesium and protein, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. How many servings of grains are enough each day? Four. Just make sure you’re using whole grain products — not multi-grain.
3. Calcium-Rich Foods
They’ve been telling us calcium is important for maintaining strong bones for ages, but that doesn’t mean people eating dairy-free can’t get enough of this nutrient from their food. Dairy products are a higher source of calcium, but dark, leafy greens, like kale, and broccoli make for great sources, too.
In 2018, Osteoporosis International published a research review on the effect of protein on density of bones. They concluded that higher protein intake was positively associated with higher bone density. To get plenty of protein, eat chicken, eggs and fish regularly. Load up on meat-free sources of protein, like legumes, seeds and nuts. Greek yogurt and tofu are both great sources of protein as well.
A Note on Diets
Malnutrition can increase the risk of osteoporosis. This means it’s important to avoid unhealthy or unbalanced diets. These types of diets can rob the body of the nutrients it needs, especially those that involve restrictive calorie intake or limiting the variety of foods being consumed. Eat enough, choose nutrient-rich foods and focus on health over a number on the scale.
Making the right diet choices can help you prevent osteoporosis. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have further concerns on steps you can take to keep your bones strong and healthy.
~ Here’s to Your Health and Wellness
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