By: DeAnne Yon Bruner, RD, LDN, LNHA, Registered Dietitian, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Osteoporosis is the disease process when a person’s bones become weak and brittle due to the loss of too much bone, not making enough bone or a combination of both. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that about 54 million Americans will be affected with bone loss and osteoporosis – this affects one out of two women and one out of four men.
We’re sharing how nutrition can play a vital role in bone health and how following a balanced diet, rich in calcium and Vitamin D, can reduce the risk of bone loss.
A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet for bone health involves eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, good sources of protein and limited sodium. It is recommended to eat five fruits and vegetables each day. Also, studies have linked fruits and vegetables rich in the phytonutrient lycopene to bone health. These foods include bell peppers, guava, pink grapefruit, tomatoes and watermelon. Good sources of protein include lean meats such as fish or chicken, as well as low-fat dairy products and eggs. Limiting sodium in your diet prevents your body from losing calcium. It is important to note that maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise also benefits bone health.
Calcium plays an important role in bone health due to also is the essential mineral necessary for building bones. As a child, bones are constantly growing known as remodeling. As people age, bones begin to breakdown and release minerals into our blood. Therefore, our bodies are in the constant need for calcium. The recommended dietary allowances for calcium for men 19 to 71 years old is 1000 mg and increases to 1200 mg for men 72 years and older. The recommended dietary allowance for women 19 to 50 years old is 1000 mg and increases to 1200 mg for women 51 years and older. Good food sources of calcium include low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, green vegetables and calcium-fortified foods such as soymilk, cereals, snacks and breads. MyPlate – the national standard for healthy eating and portion control – recommends three servings of dairy product each day.
Vitamin D is important to keeping bones healthy due to its role in the calcium absorption and maintenance in the body. This is found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as found in fish liver oils. Most Americans consume vitamin D through vitamin-D fortified foods such as milk, milk products, orange juice and cereals. Also, vitamin D is naturally created within your body when you’re exposed to sunlight. However, with the increase use of sunscreen, along with limited food sources, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends most people to take a vitamin D supplement. The foundation recommends women who are 50 years and older have 800 to 1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. The foundation makes the same recommendation for healthy women with low bone density or osteoporosis.
Nutrition plays an important role in keeping bones healthy. A person can maintain bone health with a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, along with good intake of calcium, vitamin D, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular exercise.
To learn more about bone health and orthopedic care at Tallahassee Memorial, visit TMH.ORG/Ortho.