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Eat right for strong, healthy bones: Five key tips from nutritionist

Eat right for strong, healthy bones: Five key tips from nutritionist What to eat for strong bones (photo: Freepik)

Older adults face increased risk of developing osteoporosis. This condition leads to a loss of bone density along with strength. Women are three times more likely to suffer from this ailment. Osteoporosis is dangerous due to frequent fractures even from minor impacts, as bones become brittle. Dietitian Oleg Shvets on Facebook advises what to eat to strengthen bones.

How to strengthen bones through nutrition

"When bones weaken, even minimal trauma can result in fractures. Supporting optimal bone health and preventing osteoporosis requires a diet rich in calcium," explains the doctor.

Additionally, to prevent osteoporosis, sufficient intake of vitamin D is necessary as it helps the body absorb and deposit calcium into bones. With age, the amount of calcium and vitamin D needed for bone health increases.

In addition to nutritious eating, physical exercises are crucial for bone health.

Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

Consuming more vegetables and fruits improves bone health. These foods are low in calories but rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain phytochemicals for protection against various diseases.

A dietitian advises consuming at least 300 grams of vegetables and 200-300 grams of fruits with berries daily.

"They are excellent sources of magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamins C, K, and A. All of these nutrients play a vital role in maintaining bone health. Additionally, it is recommended to consume 200-250 grams of whole grains daily," says Shvets.

Emphasize whole grains, which are rich in magnesium and dietary fiber, while avoiding processed (refined) grains.

Choose healthy sources of protein and fat

Protein is essential for bone health as it is a primary component of bone tissue. Consuming plant-based proteins, such as from beans and nuts, as well as fish, skinless poultry, and lean cuts of meat, is beneficial.

"Plant-based proteins are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytoestrogenic plant compounds that help preserve bones," says the doctor.

Additionally, consume low-fat dairy products. Proteins should account for 25% to 35% of total daily calories.

"Include a moderate amount of healthy fats in your menu. The best choice is monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Cold-water fish also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid saturated fats, which have been shown to be harmful to adult bone health," advises the dietitian.

Getting plenty of calcium

"Calcium is a key building block of bones, preventing bone mass loss. Doctors recommend consuming between 1000 to 1200 milligrams of calcium daily.

To ensure an adequate calcium intake, increase consumption of milk, yogurt, and cheese. These are its richest sources.

Plant-based milk alternatives like almond, cashew, and oat milk are also rich in calcium. Additionally, it can be found in cabbage and broccoli, juices, fortified cereals, and tofu products.

"If it's challenging to meet the daily calcium requirement through diet alone, calcium dietary supplements can be used. It's important to remember that proper absorption of calcium requires vitamin D as well as magnesium, which directs this mineral to the bones," says Shvets.

Before taking calcium supplements, it's advisable to consult with a doctor.

Limit sugar, salt, and phosphate additives

Limit the consumption of processed foods and sweetened beverages, as they are high in sugar and salt. Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure and increase the amount of calcium excreted in urine. Salt intake should be reduced to 5 grams per day.

"Phosphorus is used as a food additive in many processed foods. Too much phosphorus in the diet can interfere with how much calcium is absorbed in the small intestine. Check labels on processed foods and opt for fresh vegetables and fruits," advises Shvets.

Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption

Consuming more than one or two alcoholic drinks per day (one drink being 0.33 liters of beer, 100 ml of wine, or 30 ml of hard alcohol) accelerates bone mass loss and reduces calcium absorption. Therefore, it's advisable to abstain from alcohol or consume it moderately.

Caffeine can also increase calcium loss. However, consuming two to three cups of coffee per day is not harmful if the diet contains an adequate amount of calcium.

Check out also what to eat to maintain a healthy nervous system.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.