It is rather fascinating to look at our body and its highly complex yet organized constituents, from a microscopic level. Be it the rhythmic functioning of the heart or the amazing behaviour of the brain, it is truly a marvel of nature. However, just like any physical structure, it needs maintenance and nurturing.
Bones are the firm organs that make up the skeletal structure of a body and are most often neglected unless you injure one. Osteoporosis is a bone-related condition or a skeletal disorder. Its name is derived from the Latin phrase ‘porous bones’, which means penetrable. Just like a honeycomb, the inside of a healthy bone has minescular holes serving as a passage to blood vessels and nerves. Osteoporosis expands these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density which causes the outside of the bone to weaken and thin.
People with osteoporosis are at a high risk of fractures, or bone breaks while performing everyday activities like standing or walking. The ribs, hips, and bones in the wrists and spine are the most commonly affected bones. So, if you suffer from osteoporosis or want to protect yourself from this health condition, it’s never too late to start a bone-healthy practice. Especially by adhering to a healthy diet and engaging in physical activities. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide to osteoporosis diet and do-it-yourself exercises.
Osteoporosis has no symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Most osteoporosis sufferers are unaware of their condition until they suffer a fracture.
Some of the earlier symptoms may include:
- Shrinking gums
- Weakened grip capacity
- Weak or brittle nails
Note: Speaking with your doctor can assist you in determining your risk if you don’t have any symptoms but have a family history of osteoporosis.
Key Nutrients to Focus on
When you have osteoporosis, your body needs a number of essential nutrients to build your bones as strong as possible. Prior to developing your diet plan, you must always understand the types of nutrients that your body actually requires and also the foods to stay away from.
This mineral is an important component of bone tissue which helps to keep your bones healthy.
This vitamin is one of the important companions for calcium in your body. Hence your body cannot properly absorb calcium if you are deficient in vitamin D.
To keep your tissues healthy, including your muscle tissue, you need protein. As per research, a higher risk of hip fracture is linked to low protein intake. Consuming between 0.8 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is beneficial for your body and bones.
It can help with bone mineral density after menopause. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables which are high in vitamin C will be beneficial.
There may be a link between vitamin K1 and osteoporosis, according to a recent study on vitamin K. Those with lower vitamin K intakes are more likely to suffer a hip fracture than those who consume more than 254 mg per day and have a lower risk of suffering a hip fracture.
Zinc is used by the body to keep the bones strong. Hence, taking supplements with zinc will increase your bone health.
Food to Avoid
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in oily fish. Because polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties, they may be beneficial to people suffering from osteoarthritis. Chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts are also good sources of omega-3.
Extra virgin olive oil contains a high concentration of oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Avocado and safflower oils are both nutritious and may help lower cholesterol.
2 . Dairy
Calcium and vitamin D are abundant in milk, yoghurt, and cheese. These nutrients strengthen bones, which may alleviate painful symptoms. Dairy also contains proteins that can aid in muscle building.
3. Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark leafy greens are high in vitamin D as well as anti-stress phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption and can boost the immune system, assisting the body in fighting infection. Collard greens, spinach, kale, chard
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that researchers believe may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
This vegetable is also high in vitamins K and C, as well as calcium, which helps to strengthen bones.
Nuts are heart-healthy because they are high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and fibre. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which aids in immune system function.
6. Green tea
Polyphenols are antioxidants that may be able to reduce inflammation and slow the rate of cartilage damage, according to experts. Polyphenols are abundant in green tea.
7. garlic cloves
Scientists believe that a compound found in garlic called diallyl disulfide may work against the enzymes in the body that damage cartilage.
Foods to avoid or limit
Foods high in salt
Excess salt intake can cause your body to release calcium, which is bad for your bones. Hence, consuming sodium-rich foods should be avoided (those that contain more than 20 percent of the daily recommended value for sodium.) Limit your daily intake to no more than 2,300 mg. When possible, use a reliable source.
Moderate or no alcohol consumption is safe for people with osteoporosis. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to bone loss.
While beans have some benefits for women who have osteoporosis, they are also high in phytates (Substances that will have an impact on your body’s ability to absorb cacalcium)Reducingheir consumption will therefore be beneficial.
Note: To reduce the number of phytates in beans, soak them in water for 2 to 3 hours before cooking, then drain and add fresh water for cooking.
Wheat bran also contains high levels of phytates, which can inhibit calcium absorption. However, it is also the only food that appears to reduce calcium absorption in other foods eaten at the same time.
As a result, if you take calcium supplements, avoid taking them within 2 to 3 hours of eating 100% wheat bran.
Excess vitamin A
Vitamin A is necessary for bone health, but too much of this nutrient has been linked to bone health problems. This is unlikely to happen solely through diet.
Those who regularly take a multivitamin and a fish liver oil supplement (which are high in vitamin A) may be at a higher risk of adverse health effects from excessive vitamin A consumption.
Caffeine has been linked to decreased calcium absorption and bone loss. Coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks all contain varying amounts of caffeine, so consume them in moderation.
Now that you know what nutrients are important for osteoporosis, here’s a 7-day plan to follow. Always consult your doctor before starting a new meal plan to ensure it does not conflict with any medications or health conditions you may be taking.
Sample Osteoporosis Diet Plan
Breakfast (please mix and match as per your preference)
- slow-cooked oatmeal prepared with milk and topped with nuts
- 1 cup whole grain cereal fortified with vitamin D
- scrambled tofu with vegetables, such as bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and spinach with 1 grainy/ multigrain toast
- 4 ounces of soy milk
- 1 small banana
- whole grain pancakes topped with maple syrup and fresh fruit
- 1 small low-sodium veggie or lean turkey sausage link
Lunch (please mix and match as per your preference)
- falafel pita sandwich with cucumber, lettuce, and tomato
- whole wheat wrap with red pepper hummus, grated carrots, and tomato (may also try black or white bean spreads)
- 1 apple or banana or Watermelon or orange
- carrot and bean dip, with celery and/or carrots for dipping
- green salad with tomatoes and basil
- vegetable and/or bean-based soup topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or shredded cheese
- 4- to 6-ounce salmon burger on a whole-grain bun
Snack (please mix and match as per your preference)
- 4 cubes of low-fat cheese
- whole grain crackers or crisps
- Greek yogurt parfait with chopped fruit and nuts
- fruit smoothie blended with yogurt, milk, or calcium-fortified non-dairy substitute such as soy
- yogurt, almonds, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, or cheese stick
- yogurt with sliced fruit or berries
Dinner (please mix and match as per your preference)
- fajita burrito with chicken or lean steak, bell peppers, and onions on a whole-grain tortilla
- green salad or cabbage slaw topped with cheese and/or avocado
- 3/4 cup rice OR 2 slices French bread with 1 tsp. butter with your choice of Soup (tomato/ basil/ coriander/ chicken/ Seafood (fish/prawns/ crab/ shrimp)
- 1 cup strawberries with 2 tbsp. whipped cream or yogurt
- A protein and calcium-rich snacks such as Greek yogurt, string cheese, or cottage cheese
DIY Exercise for Osteoporosis
You may be concerned that being active increases your chances of falling and breaking a bone. However, the opposite is true. A regular, well-designed exercise program or a few do-it-yourself exercises like those mentioned by Belwoay actually aid in the prevention of falls and fractures. This is due to the fact that exercise strengthens bones and muscles, while also improving your balance, coordination, and flexibility. This is critical for people suffering from osteoporosis.
Jogging or fast-paced aerobics will strengthen bones more than slower movements. However, keep in mind that only the bones that are subjected to the strain of the exercise will benefit. Jogging, for example, protects only the bones in your lower body, including your hips.
Rope jumping improves bone mineral density. As you get older, having more bone mineral density makes you less likely to break a bone or develop osteoporosis.
Step aerobics can help your bones, as well as your overall health, by boosting your muscle strength, coordination, and balance.
As you know already! Regular exercise boosts bone mass and slows the aging degenerative process. Tennis in particular is excellent for increasing bone strength and mass because it is a weight-bearing exercise that makes use of gravity and your body weight.
Gardening is the ideal balance, especially for those who are most at risk of osteoporosis. It provides you with a workout that not only strengthens your bones but is also simple enough for people of all ages.
Stair climbing requires you to resist gravity and rise vertically. This motion pattern generates a significant body weight load to improve bone density.
Dancing and gymnastics are highly osteogenic, which means they have a high capacity for bone mass formation, which is an effective factor in avoiding osteoporosis.
Hiking and walking can help boost bone density and slow calcium loss. This strengthens the bones and reduces their likelihood of breaking. According to a few studies, women with osteoporosis who walked or hiked for one hour three days a week increased their bone density in their spine and other body areas by 6% over nine months.
Almost everyone with osteoporosis can benefit from exercise. However, keep in mind that it is only one component of a comprehensive treatment plan. Consume plenty of calcium and vitamin D, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. You may also require osteoporosis medications to increase or maintain bone density. Consult your doctor to determine the most effective ways to stay healthy and strong.