Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time and is the most common type of bone disease. Although commonly thought of as a problem for women, osteoporosis also affects men. Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about 2 million are men.
Several factors have been identified that contribute to an individual’s risk of developing osteoporosis. Some of those risk factors cannot be changed, while others, such as your lifestyle and diet, are modifiable. Lower your risk of fractures and breaks with the bone-building foods below.
Your heart, blood, muscles and nerves need calcium to function properly. If your diet doesn’t include enough calcium to replace what’s used, it will take it from your bones, leaving them weakened and prone to fracture. Milk and other dairy products provide loads of calcium, the number one go-to nutrient for bone health. Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which works hand-in-hand with calcium to build bone. Other calcium-rich dairy foods include low-fat or nonfat yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified cottage cheese. An excellent way to get that extra calcium is to turn can soup into a creamy, calcium-rich meal by stirring in skim milk instead of water.
Calcium-Fortified Orange Juice
If you are not a fan of milk or if you are lactose intolerant there are other options. Calcium-fortified orange juice is a fine substitute. It contains as much calcium as milk. Orange juice also provides you with a day’s worth of vitamin C, essential for the formation of collagen, an important component of bone matrix. An even better substitute would be juices fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which helps the body metabolize and absorb the calcium in food. Other calcium-fortified foods include some brands of soy milk, rice milk, cereal, and bread.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, which research suggests may boost bone health. Studies have found that people whose diet contains plenty of potassium have denser bones and lose less calcium in their urine. Other potassium-rich foods include tomato paste and other tomato products, potatoes, beet greens, white beans, yogurt, and bananas.
Collard greens are among the best plant sources of calcium. One serving of cooked collards contains about as much calcium as a glass of milk. Collards also contain vitamin K, which contributes to bone health. Other calcium-rich veggies include turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens and broccoli.
Peanuts, almonds, cashews, soybeans and their butter are all terrific sources of magnesium, which plays an important part in how your body uses calcium. Without adequate magnesium, the hormones that regulate calcium metabolism can’t do their job properly. For best results, choose unsalted nuts. Other magnesium-rich foods include halibut, potatoes, oatmeal, wheat bran, and bananas.
The sodium in table salt, soy sauce, and other salty seasonings can leach calcium from bones and lead to bone loss. You can protect your bones without sacrificing flavor by replacing salt with super-tasty spices and dried or fresh herbs such as chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, coriander and ground pepper.
If you have osteoporosis, it is important to be taking the necessary precautions and eating food that would help maintain or even improve bone health. Having osteoporosis doesn’t mean term life insurance is out of the question. Let your agent know if you have osteoporosis and they will assist you in choosing the best life insurance company for you.