Osteoporosis Prevention and Nutrition

Women_eating_BroccoliBy:  Janel Mayes

While having a conversation about eating healthy, an associate friend of mines in her early fifties shared with me that her doctor advised her to take in more calcium in order to prevent osteoporosis.
She vented to me that because of her busy schedule she had little to no time to grab healthy food choices let alone strategically adopt a calcium rich diet. Unbeknownst to her I happened to be taking classes about nutrition at the time and was able to share some pretty helpful tips with her that she actually took my advice on. God sure works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he?

What Is Osteoporosis

Now, osteoporosis in my opinion is one of those terms that people have heard of thanks to the old milk commercials but the general public for the most part has no idea of what it is or how it can affect them in their future. So, what is osteoporosis, you ask? Simply stated, osteoporosis is a condition of the bones once bones become weakened and fragile and as a result of density loss, bones that can easily be broken. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans have this condition and many are not even aware that they do as it is called the “silent disease”. http://www.nof.org


Nutrition For Osteoporosis

Luckily, it is a disease that can be prevented. Granted, I am not a physician so I will not get into the various drug treatments that are available. I advise you to talk to your family physician about that. However, I will share a few things that you can do nutritionally in order to prevent it. Below are a couple of nutrients that should be incorporated in order to have healthier bones in the long run:

1. Get enough calcium: Calcium plays a major role because it is the necessary make up of strong bones and teeth. A few calcium rich foods are milk, sardines with bones, broccoli, and turnip greens.

2. Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone growth and maintenance. The absence of it causes calcium loss. Therefore, calcium and vitamin D works as a team in regards to bone health. Good sources of this nutrient are enriched cereal, sardines, salmon, sunlight and cod liver oil.

Fruits_and_VeggiesNow, I will admit that the food sources for building strong bones are probably not what we typically look forward to having a large heaping of daily. I mean personally there is a limit of milk that I am willing to drink on a daily basis and only so many sardines that I am willing to smell. Sardines are not the ideal air freshener. So what I’ve done and what I advised my associate friend to do is keep it simple. Grab your blender and make a tasty breakfast smoothie. You don’t have to sit and chew forever. The smoothies can be modified to taste the way you want but here’s a great calcium rich recipe base to get you started.

Calcium rich berry smoothie
- 3-4 strawberries
- ½ cup of blueberries
- ¾ cup of blackberries
- ¾ cup of skim milk or Greek yogurt
- 1 banana
- hand full of Kale greens
- Cucumber (1 inch thick slice to cut kale bitterness)
- 1 scoop of strawberry or vanilla flavored protein powder (very optional, but I love it)

As I said before, this recipe is a great starting point. You can buy your ingredients fresh or frozen but definitely add any other fruits and veggies that you want to experiment with. Have fun with it. It’s fruit and veggies for goodness sake. You can never consume too many. The important thing is to start consuming them. After all, better a tasty smoothie on the lips than broken bones on the hips.