Can you strengthen your bones with healthy diet?
A healthy balanced diet will help you build strong bones from an early age and maintain them throughout your life. You need sufficient calcium to strengthen your bones and vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium.
You should be able to get all the nutrients you need for healthy bones by eating a healthy balanced diet. A good diet is only one of the building blocks for healthy bones, which also includes physical activity and avoiding certain risk factors.
Apropriate diet to promote bones
Adults need 700mg of calcium a day. You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Good sources of calcium include:
- milk, cheese and other dairy foods
- green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach
- soya beans
- soya drinks with added calcium
- bread and anything made with fortified flour
- fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines
It is difficult to get all the vitamin D we need from our diet and we get most of our vitamin D from the action of the sun on our skin. Short daily periods of sun exposure without sunscreen are enough for most people to make enough vitamin D. Good sources of vitamin D:
- oily fish, such as salmon and sardines
- fortified breakfast cereals
- some powdered milks
If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as osteoporosis drug treatments.
What affects bone health?
- Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
- Tobacco and alcohol use. Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Gender. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman
- Size. You’re also at risk if you’re extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you might have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
- Age. Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
- You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
- Family history. Having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
- Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.