Osteoporosis is a disease that causes low bone mass and loss of bone. This can lead to an increased risk of bone breaks, which can drastically change a person’s quality of life.1
Healthy eating is extremely important to prevent osteoporosis into the older years of your life. Following a balanced diet from Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide will help you get important nutrients that contribute to bone health.2
Three major nutrients commonly discussed for osteoporosis prevention are: protein, calcium and vitamin D.
Protein is an important part of the structure of your bones, allowing them to be flexible and strong.2 It also is important for building and repairing muscle, which keeps your body stable and helps prevent falls. 2
A variety of foods contain protein, including chicken, beef, fish, pork, beans, eggs, tofu, dairy products and nuts/seeds. 2
To get protein, people over the age of 50 are recommended 2-3 servings of meat and alternatives each day. 2
In the body, bone is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. This process involves calcium, however, calcium tends to not get absorbed as easily as you age.3 The recommendation is for adults over 50 to get 1200 mg of calcium per day.3
Some foods rich in calcium include3:
calcium-fortified soy beverages
canned salmon or sardines (if you eat the bones you get even more calcium!)
Try the following recipes for a calcium and protein boost!
This nutrient is so important for bone health because it helps increase calcium absorption (which decreases as we age) and improves the function of your muscles to prevent falls.4
Our primary source of vitamin D is the sun, however – in Canada, when the sun goes down earlier in the fall/winter or when we lather with sunscreen in the summer, the amount of natural vitamin D we get from the sun decreases.4 Plus, as you age the amount of vitamin D that can be made in your skin is reduced.4
Which means, we need a solution!
Osteoporosis Canada recommends that all Canadian adults take a Vitamin D supplement no matter what the time of the year.4
Those over 50 or people with a high risk of osteoporosis are recommended 800-2,000 IU daily. Consult a health care practitioner to discuss the possibility of taking a Vitamin D supplement and the recommended amount.4
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). What is Osteoporosis. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/what-is-osteoporosis/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Healthy Bones. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Calcium: An Important Nutrient that Builds Stronger Bones. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/calcium-requirements/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Calcium: An Important Nutrient That Protects Against Falls and Fractures. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/vitamin-d/
By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.