Follow the Diet for Strong Bones

30th December 2019
Healthy and strong bones are important in preventing osteoporosis. A diet rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D is effective in preventing this condition.

Have you ever asked yourself what the difference is between osteoporosis and osteomalacia? Also, do you know what foods are good to maintain strong bones?

As the years pass, there are changes in the personality just like there are changes in the body. One of the illnesses with the passage of time that affects the bones is osteoporosis. So learn what you can eat to strengthen the bones.

Definitions of bone diseases

You need to learn the difference between the two associated terms. These are osteopenia and osteoporosis. Osteopenia implies a reduction in the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the bones.

This condition, which can be identified by diminishing bone density, can occur at any age. You can see it in premature babies and even in adults.

On the other hand, osteoporosis is the most frequent bone disease. Actually, osteoporosis means porous bones, as the definition indicates. As a result, the bones are more fragile and have a higher probability of fracturing.

The difference between these two terms is that osteopenia is the term that describes moderate bone loss. However, the term osteoporosis is when bone loss is more evident.

Risk factors

To learn the cause of risk factors, we distinguish between moderate factors and less moderate factors. In any case, both are factors in the presence of this condition.

There are causes of osteoporosis that we have no control over. One of them is having close family members with osteoporosis. In addition, other reasons are advanced age or being overweight with low musculature.

A woman exercising to strengthen bones as in the text

However, there are factors that can be controlled. There’s a special emphasis on bathroom habits and changing them. Smoking is one of the factors associated with bone loss and is controllable. Other pertinent factors in this group are hypertension, type 2 diabetes and the excess consumption of alcohol.

We can’t forget that osteoporosis may be secondary to other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.

The objective of intervention for strong bones

The fundamental objective of treatment is to maintain bone mass in the best state possible. It’s very important that those at risk and those with the condition have an active life and can avoid fractures at all costs. 

Physical activity has different effects according to its intensity, frequency, and length of time. In addition, we need to consider at what age a person begins to exercise. In fact, protection is more effective at adolescence.

Furthermore, we mustn’t forget that diet contributes considerably to mitigate and slow down the bone depletion process.

Food and nutrition for strong bones

Optimizing the diet is one of the factors that we should consider when it comes to bone loss. People need to have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and consume enough protein.

Increasing the amount of calcium

Starting from a base of a normal diet of between 600 and 800 milligrams per day, the amount of calcium needs to be higher. For instance, the principal source of calcium is dairy products. If milk isn’t consumed, we can use no fat powdered milk to enrich foods that we prepare.  For those who can’t tolerate lactose, they can use other dairy products or fortified foods.

Other sources of calcium are fruits and vegetables, such as spinach or kale. Additionally, we can consume legumes, some fish such as sardines, and other foods such as egg yolk.

Remember that calcium is better absorbed when accompanied by other foods. However, the exceptions to this are fiber and oxalates. These make the absorption of calcium difficult at the intestinal level.

Photo of dairy products to support the text describing diet

Aiding the ingestion of vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium at an intestinal level. Therefore, it’s important to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D. These include dairy products, bluefish, and source of food from bones (bone broth).

Don’t forget that the main source of vitamin D is the sun. So spending some time in the sun and physical exercise is a good combination to get vitamin D.

Other considerations for healthy and strong bones

To add to prevention, we can make some small changes in our daily lives to reduce the factors that cause osteoporosis. And one of these that detract from healthy bones includes the use of anticonvulsives or corticosteroids. Another factor is the reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables and dairy products, as well as a sedentary lifestyle.

In conclusion, other measures can lead to a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to exclude tobacco use, but do include exercise with weight lifting and resistance training. It’s always better late than never and you’ll notice the results and be happy with them!

  • Salas-Salvadó J et al. 2019. Nutrición y dietética clínica. Elsevier Health Sciences.