Although your chance of developing osteoporosis is affected by certain factors you cannot control, such as heredity, gender and age, your diet and lifestyle also have an effect on your bone health.
If you are reading this page you are probably not a young person, but you may want to let your younger relatives and friends know that it is very important to eat a healthy diet throughout your life, so that your bones and calcium levels are already healthy when you head into the more vulnerable years of advancing age.
There is some good research that shows that it is much more difficult to make up for poor calcium levels in early life than it is to maintain already good levels into your senior years.
Eat fresh, whole foods
Keep in mind that the best way to stay healthy and help prevent osteoporosis, is to eat a variety of fresh whole foods from all of the food groups on a daily basis. However, there are some specific types of foods that you can include in your diet to help keep your bones healthy.
Here is a list of foods that you can include in your diet to help with osteoporosis prevention.
Foods for Bone Health
Colorful fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals
Dark leafy greens
Red and Green Bell Peppers
Calcium-rich foods--dairy and non-dairy
Low-fat or Non-fat Yogurt
Low-fat or Non-fat Milk
Low-fat or Non-fat cheese
Salmon (canned with bones)
Orange juice fortified with calcium
Eat this, not that for osteoporosis prevention
The preceding is a list foods that you can eat to help strengthen your bones, but conversely, there are some foods you can limit to keep your bones healthy. These include foods containing caffeine, sodium and excessive amounts of protein, all of which are associated with the loss of calcium from your bones.
Make your bones work for you
In addition to these dietary changes, weight-bearing exercise has also been shown to help strengthen bones. This may include lifting weights, walking, tennis, stair climbing or any exercise that forces your bones to bear weight—either your body weight or outside weights.
Some products, such as orange juice, some fruit drinks, and some cereals, are fortified with calcium. It is important to note that the type of calcium used in fortification will affect its availability for absorption in your body. This means that it is possible that not all of the calcium listed on the label of the fortified food, will actually be accessible to your body.
For osteoporosis prevention, should I supplement with calcium pills?
As always, it is better to get your calcium from the foods you eat, especially because calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals. However, if you are unable to get enough calcium in your diet, possibly due to lactose-intolerance or a vegan lifestyle, you can supplement your diet with calcium pills.
Be aware that most calcium supplements should be taken with meals and that for the sake of good absorption; you should limit your supplementation to 500 mg at one time. Accordingly, you may want to break up your calcium supplementation, taking one in the morning and one in the evening.