Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones (mineral content) decrease and weaken in structure, which makes them susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis affects more women than men. The decline in estrogen after menopause is directly related to the dramatic increase in the risk of osteoporosis in elderly women. This hormone helps the body absorb calcium and keep bones strong. A well-organized and balanced diet with appropriate physical activity plays a major role in primary and secondary prevention.
Osteoporosis is associated with a low-calcium diet. However, recent studies have shown that an increase in milk consumption does not protect women from bone fractures, but increases the risk.
Foods which form acidic reactions within our body lead to calcium deficiency. The truth is, our organism breaks down minerals that have an alkaline effect, which is mainly calcium. Thus, in order to neutralize the acidic environment in the body, we must invest great effort.
Foods which contain phytate, wheat and soybeans can bind important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc to themselves, and thus reduce their absorption. Stress, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee, for example, cause calcium extraction from the bones.
When a person is stressed, calcium is extracted from the bones to the blood stream to prepare the body for danger. Once the danger passes, calcium does not return to the bones, but is kept in the blood, deposited in the arteries and joints, just like a stone within a kidney.
In order for calcium to effectively form bones, it needs a perfect ratio of phosphorus and magnesium. Nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables are a rich source of phosphorus and magnesium. Vitamin D is of great importance for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Physical activity, such as a quick walk, leads to the storage of calcium in the bones.
How to Alter your Diet to Prevent Osteoporosis?
The best protection is to provide adequate amounts of nutrients that build and maintain bone density, such as calcium, boron, manganese and vitamin D.
– Consume foods rich in boron in order to increase your estrogen levels (especially after menopause)
– If you are a young woman, take in enough fat and cholesterol rich foods (eggs, kajmak, sour cream, butter) in order to maintain recommended levels of estrogen for normal menstruation
– Watch out for foods and beverages which draw calcium from the body. Do not drink more than three cups of coffee a day and reduce your sodium intake
– Lower the amount of alcohol you drink as it lowers calcium levels
– Eat calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, sardines, salmon
– Eat plenty of vegetables and soy products
Calcium-rich foods: ricotta (mild sheep cheese), salmon with bones, kale, chard, black beans, soybeans, sardines with bones, broccoli, dried figs, sesame, parsley leaf.
Vitamin D-rich foods: sardines, fresh sardines, herring, salmon, mackerel, eggs, butter.
Mangase-rich foods: whole-grain cereals and whole grain flour, peas, kale, rice, spinach, lettuce, corn.
Boron-rich foods: apples, pears, legumes, almonds, hazelnuts.