Osteoporosis is a bone disorder common in people worldwide. Around one in four men and one in three women experience osteoporosis once in their life after the age of 50.
Osteoporosis in simple words is when the skeletal system starts to weaken due to loss in bone density and bone mass. This leads to an increased risk of fracture, which is generally termed osteoporotic fracture.
Bone loss in osteoporosis sufferers could be due to a diet lacking vitamin D, Calcium, and other essential nutrients to keep up the bone mineral density. It is characterized by:
- Weak bones
- Osteopenia- low bone density
- Bone loss
- Hip fracture
- Vertebral fractures upon fall
Scientific research indicates that osteoporosis starts during the young years and progresses till old age, finally becoming more aggressive as the affected individual crosses 50 years of age.
A postmenopausal woman can be more susceptible to bone fracture risk due to weak bones than a woman who is in her thirties even though the latter does suffer from the disease.
An unhealthy diet and obesity are risk factors for osteoporosis. It is important to maintain a healthy diet to prevent this bone disorder from setting in. Along with diet, intermittent fasting for osteoporosis works wonders for your overall health.
To organize a seven-day osteoporosis eating plan, you need to know about the various nutrients that are vital to strong, healthy bones and the foods that need to be consumed daily for stronger bones.
The Key Nutrients for Osteoporosis Prevention
Osteoporosis affects the entire skeletal system and therefore, it is essential that you consume a diet rich in nutrients that are known to boost bone turnover and guarantee stronger bones.
By that logic, incorporating fortified foods, dairy products, and leafy greens into the diet can be the first step towards the improvement of weak, brittle bones.
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Best Vitamins and Minerals for Osteoporosis
Calcium is a mineral that plays a vital role in the functioning of major organs in the body. It is required by our muscles, nerves, heart, and even blood.
In the skeletal system, calcium is a major part of bone tissue and contributes to bone density for strong bones. A healthy bone can get brittle over time and to combat any bone loss and consequent risk of fracture, you need to intake an adequate amount of calcium.
The major calcium-rich foods include:
- Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt.
- Nuts and seeds, almonds and chia seeds, in particular, are excellent for bone health and overall well-being.
- Leafy greens like spinach, cabbage and broccoli.
- Beans and lentils which include black beans, chickpeas, and lentils are great for increasing bone mass and bone tissue formation.
- Fish, particularly salmon and sardine.
- Fortified foods; include calcium-rich cereals, bread, and fortified juices in your daily diet.
- Calcium supplements and other supplements for osteoporosis may be recommended by a healthcare provider if your calcium intake is not sufficient.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the food you eat. So this is a vital nutrient for people suffering from osteoporosis.
Vitamin D intake is as important as Calcium intake as Vitamin D helps calcium absorption from the gut to the rest of the body. Foods rich in Vitamin D include:
- Egg yolk
- Fatty fishes like salmon and tuna
- Fortified milk
It is ideal that you increase your Vitamin D by getting adequate exposure to the sun; daily exposure of 10-15 minutes in the sunlight can do wonders to overall health.
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Protein is a nutrient that makes up 50% of the bone volume and contributes to a third of the bone mass. This makes protein intake a key for bone health.
It is interesting to note that according to researches, low protein intake could increase the risk of hip fracture among the elderly. Daily recommended amounts involve 0.8 to 2.0 mg of protein in your diet for bone health. Protein-rich foods include:
- Meat; we recommend that you opt for lean meat, keeping consumption of red meat to a minimum.
- Beans; kidney beans and lentils are rich in protein
- Tofu and Soya
Vitamin C is also important for calcium absorption and in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis because of its ability to increase bone density.
Also, Vitamin C, when taken along with Calcium maximizes bone strength and bone mass. Citrus fruits and vegetables are your go-to for natural sources of Vitamin C.
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The body loses the ability to absorb magnesium with age which can be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Magnesium is essential for bone formation. it helps with increased bone density and helps prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis. Magnesium also converts vitamin D into its active form, which helps with calcium absorption.
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- Brown rice
- Dark green vegetables
- Nuts like almonds, cashew, and brazil nuts
Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2
Vitamin K comes in two forms — K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 includes all the green veggies. Vitamin K has two more sub-heads named MK4 to MK13.
These are found in some dairy products, fermented foods pork and, poultry food. Vitamin K1 and K2 are directly linked to fracture risk. The women especially the ones suffering from postmenopausal osteoporosis had increased fracture risk if they consumed lesser than 254mg of Vitamin K1 per day.
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This is a type of parathyroid hormone which promotes bone formation in the body. It has a vital role to play in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Glucocorticoid is another hormone that acts opposite to Teriparatide. It upsets the balance between bone resorption and formation with increased bone loss as a result.
There are certain foods that need to be avoided by osteoporotic patients. Salty, processed foods should be avoided and foods rich in vitamin A and wheat bran need to be consumed in small amounts only.
This is because wheat bran is known to interact with calcium absorption, decreasing the bone-strengthening process.
Seven Day Osteoporosis Diet Plan
Osteoporosis can be prevented by choosing a diet that boosts bone formation as well as bone strength. A Mediterranean diet is the most suitable diet, as it includes all the foods that an osteoporotic individual needs to start the journey towards bone health, stronger bones, and osteoporosis recovery.
The Mediterranean diet contains all the nutrients mentioned above. It includes legumes, eggs, whole grains, fruits, leafy greens, fish, poultry, herbs, spices, olive oil, and dairy.
The Harvard Medical School supports the claims that the Mediterranean diet helps with osteoporosis prevention, and helps increase bone strength.
It is also a great option for those looking for sustainable weight loss. Recent studies have proven that it decreases bone loss in the elderly especially in a postmenopausal woman.
Now, here we have compiled an easy seven-day Osteoporosis Diet Plan for you
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Day 1 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, eat 1 slice of toast preferably whole grain with fruit jam, avocado, or peanut butter. For drink either take 8 oz. orange juice (calcium-fortified), or 4 oz. skimmed milk.
For lunch, you can eat vegetarian chilli along with your choice of green leafy salads and a hard-boiled egg. For beverages, a sorbet made with fresh raspberries can be a good option. For an evening snack, you can have low-fat yogurt, which may be consumed with fresh berries or any other sliced fruit.
For dinner, we recommend indulging in delicious, healthy pasta made with grilled chicken and zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and carrots dipped in olive oil. But, we do recommend that you opt for whole-grain pasta over white pasta. Lemon sorbet with berry sauce can be a great option for a delicious drink.
Day 2 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, we recommend that you drink juice fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D. Fortified orange juice can be a good choice. Fortified vitamin D enriched cereal with skimmed milk can be a perfect breakfast option.
For lunch, you can treat yourself to a ground beef burger with lettuce, tomato slices, and 1 slice of non-fat cheese. This is followed by a salad and a hard-boiled egg and skimmed milk. After a few hours, orange can be eaten as an evening snack.
For dinner, include a protein in your diet- you can opt for a chicken steak with two slices of French bread toasted in 1 tsp margarine. Add to that half a cup of steamed or boiled broccoli and ¾ cup of rice. For dessert, a cup of strawberries with light whipped cream topping makes a great option.
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Day 3 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, you can eat oatmeal with apple slices and raisins added to it. Have 8 oz. of orange juice (calcium-fortified) as well.
For lunch, you can indulge in a falafel sandwich made with pita bread, with cucumbers, tomato, and lettuce. We say that you have a fruit along with it; preferably a slice of watermelon. For an evening snack, you can have an apple, orange, or banana to satisfy your hunger.
For dinner, you can have a lean steak or chicken fajita burrito with onions, bell peppers, and quinoa inside. Make sure the tortilla used is whole-grain. Mashed sweet potato and corn can be eaten as a sideline.
Day 4 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, scrambled tofu can be eaten with vegetables like bell pepper, peas, and spinach added to it. For a healthier, nutrient-rich twist, the potatoes can be oven-roasted and sprinkled with non-fat cheese or skimmed milk.
For lunch, a wrap (whole-wheat tortilla) with grated carrots, red pepper hummus, and tomatoes can be your pick for the day. Your choice of fruit can be an apple or banana. For a snack, drink a low-fat yogurt and skimmed milk fruit smoothie to satisfy your hunger pangs in the evening.
For dinner, you can have grilled chicken with lightly fried asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, and corn on the cob as a side dish.
Day 5 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, you can have whole-grain cereal with choice or sliced bananas or strawberries. We suggest that you pair your whole-grain cereal with 4 oz of soy milk and also have fruit with it.
Indulge in Thai noodle soup with spinach, corn, and mushrooms for lunch on day 5. The fruit of the day is switched to a vegetable (like a carrot or celery) which can be eaten with bean dip. To satiate your evening hunger pangs, you can have white bean dip or roasted chickpeas with one toasted pita bread (whole-grain)
For dinner, one can have spaghetti (whole-grain) fried with vegetables like carrots, onions, and broccoli. The drink can be any sorbet (lemon or strawberry) with fruits or berry sauce.
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Day 6 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, eat wholegrain pancakes with applesauce or fruit jam and 1 veggie sausage. Drink 8 oz. orange juice (calcium-fortified) or 4 oz. skimmed milk with it.
For lunch, any vegetable or bean soup can be eaten with black beans and corn salad with slide red peppers. The choice of fruit is a banana, apple, or orange. For an evening snack, low-fat cheese (4 cubes) can be eaten with crackers or crisps.
For dinner, you can have whole-wheat lasagna cooked with spinach and low-fat cheese. Opt for a small plate of green sautéed vegetables or salad to accompany the lasagna.
Day 7 of Osteoporosis Eating Plan
For breakfast, a quiche or omelet made with tomatoes and spinach or other vegetables can be eaten with 8 oz. orange juice (calcium-fortified) or 4 oz. skimmed milk.
For lunch, a salmon burger with whole-grain buns can be an option sidelined with mashed potatoes. For an evening snack, a rice or milk pudding made with low-fat milk garnished with almonds can be eaten to satisfy the hunger till dinner is served.
For dinner, one can have nachos having avocado, kidney beans, and topped with low-fat cheese. Opt for a green salad to go with your dinner.
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Note that this eating plan can be switched and customized according to individual needs. It is important to engage in physical activity such as weight-bearing exercises, isometric exercises, yoga, and Tai chi as well to fasten the recovery process.
A balanced diet rich in Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium and intermittent fasting along with physical activity like yoga and pilates are great ways to manage osteoporosis.