The impact of calcium-rich diets on osteoporosis prevention The impact of calcium-rich diets on osteoporosis prevention

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects your bones and bone health. It causes the bones to become thinner and weaker, making them more susceptible to damage and breaks. Anyone can suffer from it, but it is seen most often in post-menopausal women.

Your bones are made of protein fibres, calcium, and other minerals that when combined create a hard structure. Starting around your mid-thirties, your bones will begin to gradually lose calcium so it is important to try to slow this process to prevent broken bones. The best way to do this is by having a calcium rich diet. Your dietary habits should include at least 700-1000mg of calcium a day.

Foods rich in calcium include:

  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt, and other dairy products
  • Bread made with fortified flour
  • Curly kale
  • Turnips
  • Sardines
  • Edamame beans
  • Rhubarb

You will also need to get enough vitamin D into your diet because it helps calcium reach our bones. Most of our vitamin D intake should be from direct sun exposure (15 minutes a few times a week), but you can find it in foods like breakfast cereals.

Know Your Osteoporosis Risk

Even if you eat a diet rich in the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy bones, there are some risk factors that can’t be avoided. The older you are, the higher your risk is. Women are more likely to develop it than men. In fact, osteoporosis is most often seen in postmenopausal women. This is due to menopause causing a reduction in estrogen, a hormone that helps your bones stay strong.

Other risk factors include:

  • Being white or Asian descent
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Malabsorption illnesses like Crohn's disease
  • Being small in stature

Osteoporosis Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis (usually after a DEXA bone mineral density scan), you will need to be vigilant about preventing fractures and may need to take osteoporosis medications. The most popular medications are called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates slow down the rate your bones lose calcium, keeping them stronger for longer.

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