Prevent Osteoporosis with Nutrition and Exercise
Healthy Living

Prevent Osteoporosis with Nutrition and Exercise

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 25 May 2015 - 13:42.

"Osteo" means bone, and "porosis" means porous. When you have osteoporosis, your bones have become thin, weak and porous (like a sponge) instead of being strong and dense (like a brick). Because of this, your bones have a higher chance of breaking, especially if you fall.

Osteoporosis is also called “the silent thief” because it slowly “steals” your bone density over many years without giving you any signs or symptoms. Many people don't even know they have osteoporosis until a bone breaks or fractures. As per the statistics, one out of eight males and one out of three females in India are affected by osteoporosis. This makes India one of the largest countries affected by osteoporosis in the world.

Risk Factors of Osteoporosis

  • Gender: It is more prevalent in post-menopausal women.
  • Age: People over the age of 50 are at a greater risk
  • Family history: Parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts the person at a risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Dietary factors: Less calcium intake, being deficient in Vitamin D
  • Medication: Long term use of medication such as steroids.
  • Lifestyle factors: Sedentary/inactive lifestyle, smoking, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Having a slender body and small bones

Tips for osteoporosis prevention and reversal:

Nutrition and bone, muscle and joint health are closely related. A healthy diet can help you prevent and manage osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal disorders, by assisting in the production and maintenance of bone. 

Soak up in Vitamin D

Your body requires vitamin D to absorb the calcium in your diet. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you can’t absorb the calcium you need for your bones.Eggs, milk and oily fish are rich sources of Vitamin D. Get enough exposure to early morning sunlight; this allows your skin to produce vitamin D in the body. At times it becomes difficult to get adequate quantities of vitamin D through diet alone; hence you may consult a physician for Vitamin D supplements. A 2013 research study in UK found that women who took vitamin D supplement had more dense bones at the end of the study than women who didn’t.


Eat Calcium rich foods:One of the key risk factors of osteoporosis is calcium deficiency in the body. When the body has insufficient calcium in the blood, your body will take calcium from the bones. With age, the body’s ability to absorb calcium reduces, so it's very important to eat calcium-rich foods. Some good sources of calcium are dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy products, fish with bones, nuts, sesame seeds, dried figs, dried apricots and dark green leafy vegetables are also calcium rich foods.

Include Vitamin K in your diet: Vitamin K plays a key role in the production of fully-formed osteocalcin, one of the proteins used in building bone. Several epidemiology and intervention studies have found that vitamin K deficiency causes reductions in bone mineral density and increases the risk of fractures. Good sources of vitamin K include broccoli, cauliflower, soya beans and dark green leafy vegetables.

Watch out for high sodium foods

Eating too much sodium can reduce your bone density. A high salt intake increases calcium loss in the urine (Calciuria), some of which will be directly from the bones.

Include omega fats

A few studies have shown that supplements containing essential fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, can help maintain or possibly increase bone mass. Essential fatty acids appear to increase the amount of calcium your body absorbs, diminish the amount of calcium lost in urine, improve bone strength, and enhance bone growth. Omega-3 is found in oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon, linseed oil, soya beans and walnuts. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study stating that the Omega fat, DHA appears to constitute marrow and enhance bone mineral content.

Stay active

Regular physical activity will help you build strong bones and may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Include activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, dance, weight training. Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

While good nutrition is very important for healthy bones so is being physically active.Regular exercises contribute to strengthening of bone mass. Both of these go hand in hand to help you achieve healthy bones and overall health.



*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.