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Nutrition Articles

Eating to Prevent Osteoporosis

Early, Continuous Prevention is Key

Good eating habits are directly related to the prevention of osteoporosis in both men and women. It is often thought that only women suffer from this disease, but this is not true. While women are more prone to develop osteoporosis, men also suffer from this preventable disease.

Osteoporosis causes bones to lose mass and density. As the bones become porous and brittle, the chance of fracture is greatly increased. To lessen the risk of osteoporosis, try to get at least 1,000 mg (adults ages 19-50) to 1,200 mg (adults over 51) of calcium each day. Use the SparkPeople nutrition tracker to analyze your average intake.

If you're not meeting your needs, include additional milk and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, or pudding. Don’t forget foods made with milk such as cheese pizza, lasagna, and yogurt shakes. Other foods that are good sources of calcium include calcium-set tofu, canned salmon and sardines with the bones, calcium fortified juice, and broccoli.

Calcium is what strengthens our bones and protects the internal organs. When there is a loss of calcium, we lose strength, and bones become brittle and break more easily. Some simple variations to improve your diet are as follows:
  • For breakfast, use milk instead of water with your cereal and oatmeal. Drink plenty of calcium-fortified orange juice.
  • For lunch, eat yogurt as your dessert, choose milk instead of soda and add cheese to your sandwich.
  • For dinner, prepare canned tomato soup and macaroni and cheese with milk. Have pudding made with milk or frozen yogurt for dessert.
Here is a list of examples of the proper foods you should integrate into your diet to help ward off osteoporosis and become healthier:
  • Whole grains – brown rice, oats, corn, barley, buckwheat, wheat, rye
  • Vegetables – broccoli, carrots, spinach, lettuce, onions, celery, string beans, artichoke, summer squash, endive, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, parsley, sprouts, and tomatoes
  • Beans – split peas, lentils, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, black beans, white beans, soy beans, and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds – sunflower, sesame or pumpkin seeds
  • Water – 8 glasses a day
Lastly, if you really don't like dairy products or they don't like you, then try some of these tips to increase the amount of calcium in your diet without upsetting your stomach:
  • Use milk in preparing hot chocolate, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and soups.
  • Make a fruit smoothie using yogurt and frozen fruit for a light refreshing meal or snack.
  • Use nonfat plain yogurt to replace part or all of the sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese in recipes.
  • Use canned salmon, instead of tuna for sandwiches and casseroles.
  • Serve a stir-fry packed with calcium-rich foods like broccoli, bok choy and tofu.
  • Make a sandwich spread from calcium-fortified cottage cheese and chopped veggies.
  • Mix part-skim ricotta cheese with cinnamon and raisins to spread on bagels or English muffins.

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Member Comments

  • Thanks for the info.
  • Seem like this article could be more thorough.
  • Not a very thorough article. Best to look for more information elsewhere - what about the role of soy, vitamins D and K, for example? Or some explanation - why salmon instead of tuna?
  • Has no one proof-read this article? Right after, if you can't have milk, it suggests ingesting milk and yogurt! I expect more rigor from SparkPeople.
    What are options for someone prone to kidney stones from calcium. I was just diagnosed with osteoporosis and read some scary things about Fosamax side affects. Has anyone had success with Fosamax. My doctor wants me to take it, but not sure if the risks or possible side affects (broken femurs and disfigured jaw just to name a few) are worth it. I haven't read enough about osteoporosis to know how debilitating it can become over years.
  • I've read many studies that say to ditch the grains if you need bone density. The reason is that grains promote INFLAMMATION and take buffer from the skin first, then the bones, and last, the muscle. These studies say to get your calcium from green vegetables. So that's what I do.
  • Thanks for sharing
    Please don't push dairy like this, it is simply not needed. Best Wishes To All.
  • I been taking calcium oills fir a few years now because my doctor told me it helps my bones. That I needed them to keep strong bones.
    Just an FYI- people who are lactose intolerant should be able to consume yogurt and hard, aged cheeses, because in those dairy products the lactose has been broken down already. If you are lactose intolerant and would like to see if it works for your body, try a small amount of yogurt, and go from there. I get so frustrated with all the negative comments towards animal-related foods on this site. We are not all vegans. I personally have no desire to be one. I don't hate on others for being vegetarians or vegans. All I ask is the same respect in return. Apparently it's too much to ask for a little respect from other grown adults.
  • Another article pushing dairy! Even if you don't like dairy, the alternatives are dairy! If you read the book, "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II, you will can learn about other options and why they are preferred. Almond milk is high in calcium and so is soy and hemp milk. Check out vegan options. You don't need yogurt, cottage cheese or dairy milk. Many veges are high in calcium without the problems caseine presents.
  • I don't understand the suggestions for what to have when you don't like milk or milk doesn't like you...... all of the suggestions would cause severe issues with my stomach. There are no non-dairy alternatives listed. I could simply take a Lactaid pill of some kind, but that doesn't completely get rid of all the symptoms. I'm kind of disappointed to not see any non-dairy suggestions.
  • according to my doctor, consuming LOTs of water is the key to avoiding kidney stones. It is troubling to keep reading opposing views on what to do.