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Nutrition for bone health:Calcium, vitamin D, and other strategies to prevent osteoporosis. Strong bones are crucial to good health, and good nutrition is crucial to strong bones.  Find out what you need to protect the health of your skeleton for years to come. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined. Osteoporosis is often known as the “silent thief” because the disease proceeds without symptoms. Many older adults are not aware that they have weak bones until they happen to fall. Women typically lose bone mass drastically during menopause, when bone-protecting hormone levels drop.
And if you’re elderly and you fracture a bone, your chance of dying shortly afterwards skyrockets. Luckily, there is a lot you can do even as an adult to protect and even strengthen your bones. If you understand how bones work, then you’ll understand how you can use good nutrition to keep them strong, solid, and healthy. When bone cells sense any strain (for example, the impact of striking your foot on pavement as you run, or bearing the load of a barbell), the body sends signals to increase bone formation.
Imagine the same construction crew — but this time, their materials are cheap and poor quality. At this point, you’re probably wondering what you can eat – or stop eating – to ensure the healthiest bones possible. Does your body know it should use that calcium? Though calcium is important, it’s not enough to build a strong skeleton on its own.
Can your body absorb that form of calcium? We can eat plenty, but our bodies have to be able to use that calcium.
Are you eating other foods, or taking other medications, that could interfere with calcium absorption? Two of those substances are phytates (found in grains, seeds, and nuts) and oxalates (found in spinach, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and walnuts).
This means that foods like spinach (which contain calcium) are not necessarily good sources of calcium, because the oxalate prevents us from absorbing and using that calcium. However, other foods such as broccoli, bok choy, and kale are happy to help out. Most people should consider supplementing with vitamin D to ensure that D levels are good. Vitamin D requirements vary greatly depending on geography, sun exposure, and current blood levels. But deficiency is very common, perhaps especially among those with higher body fat, because of the way that lipids change the liver and skin.
Protein makes up 20-30% of bone mass. Plus, protein intake can influence growth hormones and growth factors in the body, which indirectly affect bone health. In fact, the evidence shows that a high-calcium plus a high-protein diet is optimal for bone health. Most people get their dietary phosphorus from foods like meat, milk, cheese, poultry, and processed foods with phosphate-based additives. Phosphorus from additives seems to be more readily absorbed than the phosphorus from whole foods.
Vitamin K2 helps to guide calcium where it needs to go. Foods rich in vitamin K2 include dairy, meat, poultry, and natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.
Vitamin C helps to lay down new bone. Foods rich in vitamin C include vegetables and fruits. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to fight off free radical destruction of bones. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and tomato sauces. If a diet contains enough food to support lean mass, and a wide variety of whole foods, you shouldn’t need to supplement most B vitamins for good bone health. Meanwhile, consuming potassium (which comes from vegetables and fruits) might result in a more favorable potassium-sodium balance in the body and help to preserve bone. While in theory, we should be able to get enough magnesium from a whole-foods diet, in practice we’ve found that many of our clients (particularly women of reproductive age) are magnesium-deficient and benefit from supplementation.
Creatine may increase the activity of bone building cells and decrease the activity of cells that break down bone. But it’s hard to draw conclusions at this point since several studies have also indicated no influence. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds all seem to be very beneficial for bones. While many flavonoids and other phytochemcials can be identified and isolated, no one really knows yet how many there are. That’s probably why supplementing with isolated phytochemicals doesn’t appear to have the same protective effects as eating whole fruits and vegetables. There are many mechanisms at work here, but one potential bone benefit for an alkaline diet is that eating more alkaline foods might help to bump up growth hormone levels.
If dairy foods are someone’s lone source of these nutrients, then removing dairy will likely have a negative influence on bone mass. Getting a balanced mix of fat sources and types is the best option for controlling inflammation in the body. However, drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks per day appears to be problematic for bone health. Mineral waters might have a favorable influence on bone health, especially if they include calcium or magnesium. Now that you have a better idea of what to eat and why you should eat it, what are some of the other factors that might affect the strength of your bones? Other red flags for bone health include prolonged low dose birth control in young women, and prednisone use. Chronic dieters take note: Periods of aggressive weight loss mean that the body isn’t getting enough energy to maintain body mass.
Bariatric surgeries can result in nutrient deficiencies and weight loss, both of which can result in loss of bone mass.
Exercise may help to offset some of these negative effects and allow people to lose weight safely without compromising bone health. Disordered eating has a long-lasting negative influence on bone health, likely because of the lack on consistent incoming nutrients and energy.


Bone health depends on a happy medium — keeping body fat and size within a healthy range (which can vary from person to person). Higher levels of circulating insulin and weight tugging on the skeleton may stimulate bone growth.
More adipose tissue (outside a healthy range) means more inflammation, which harms (among other things) bone health. Meanwhile, increased fat in bone marrow might be linked to changes in bone formation and a greater likelihood of fracture. With these simple steps, you can help ensure your skeleton stays strong and springy for life. Consider a supplement if you really need it, and aren’t getting your calcium from real foods.
Check your medications, and ask your doctor if adjustments might be useful for long-term bone health. In it you’ll learn the best eating, exercise, and lifestyle strategies – unique and personal – for you. In baking, substitute equal amounts of water, fruit juice, rice milk or soy milk for cow’s milk. Substitute chicken broth for cream in sauces and soups, or puree foods for a creamy texture. Dress potatoes, vegetables, and grains with olive oil, vegetable oil, or soy lecithin spread instead of butter.
If one has been prescribed, use an injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen, Adrenaclick, Twinject) right away.
The Mayo Clinic says that in order to be healthy, we need to limit our daily cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less each day. Egg-based mayo is sometimes combined with high cholesterol foods such as shrimp, which has 179 mg in three ounces.
Another issue is that egg-laying chickens in the United States are too often kept in tiny cages that are so cramped they can’t even spread their wings. Large-scale poultry farms generate nitrogen, phosphorus and arsenic which can all pollute natural watersheds and even wind up in the aquifers that we use for our drinking water. To make matters worse, poultry farms generate climate change emissions in the form of methane and nitrous oxides. Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave newsletter.
Planetsave is part of the Important Media network of blogs working to make the world a better, greener place.
Are you trying to add more iron to your diet? Studies show that many teens and women don’t consume enough iron-containing foods, and this is an important contributor to iron deficiency.  Knowing which foods contain iron and the best ways to absorb the iron can make a big difference.
TO INCREASE YOUR IRON STORES, you should consume a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of iron-containing foods.
In the US this is based on 18 mg iron (so 50% daily value means 1 serving contains 9 mg iron). Iron Inhibitors are substances in foods that interfere with iron absorption (especially non-heme sources of iron). Oxalates found in spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries, and some herbs.
Polyphenols – antioxidants found in some cereals and legumes, most fruits and vegetables, cocoa, coffee, tea (black, green, and herbal), some spices, and wine. You’ll notice that this list includes many healthful foods, and the health consequences of limiting or avoiding these foods (not to mention meal-planning headaches) likely outweigh the possible iron boosting benefits of avoiding them.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, and overcomes the negative influence of iron inhibitors. Eating heme iron-rich foods with non-heme-iron rich foods helps increase iron absorption (for example, adding a small amount of meat to chili will help you absorb more iron from the beans). Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin – found in brightly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, greens, sweet potatoes, red peppers, cherries, cantaloupe, oranges) improve iron uptake and help overcome the effects of iron inhibitors. A burrito or Mexican-inspired meal containing beans and rice with salsa and sweet peppers is a delicious iron-rich vitamin C combination. Bake with Blackstrap Molasses – it’s full of all the good stuff that’s left behind after processing sugar cane into sugar, including lots of iron and other minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Some people add 1 tbsp. Top a spinach salad with vitamin-C sources, like strawberries, or mandarin oranges, and peppers (all rich in Vitamin C). Finish off a meal with a vitamin-C rich fruit tart (try my recipe!) to improve the iron absorption of your meal. Add red peppers to any meal – they are the leading source of vitamin C to help iron absorption and full of other nutrients. Follow Us This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.
For instance, what our mothers eat while pregnant with us will affect our eventual bone mass as adults. At least one in three women and one in five men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Much of the bone structure is actually protein, and contains connective tissues (such as the endosteum or periosteum), a network of nerves and blood vessels, and of course the marrow at the center. It needs hormonal signals (such as enough vitamin D) and mechanical signals (like impact and loading) to tell it where to go. Thus, consuming more soft drinks with phosphoric acid probably isn’t the best idea for bone health. As long as you’re getting other nutrients in balanced amounts from whole foods, phosphorus probably won’t cause any problems.
Higher levels of homocysteine are associated with more fractures (and overall inflammation). While this doesn’t automatically mean weaker bones, it’s probably something to avoid if you can. But considering your best sources of these vitamins and minerals are whole foods, what should you actually eat for strong bones – and what should you avoid? What’s more, their beneficial effects on bone are more likely to come from the way they combine in whole foods than from any particular one.


However, if someone gets these nutrients from other sources, then dairy doesn’t appear to offer any additional benefit to bone health. Up to two cups of coffee a day should not pose risks to someone eating a well-balanced diet.
Pigment-rich vegetables and fruits deliver vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and flavonoids — all of which contribute to bone health. Diet-dependent net endogenous acid load of vegan diets in relation to food groups and bone health-related nutrients: results from the German Vegan Study. The association between dietary protein intake and bone mass accretion in pubertal girls with low calcium intakes.
Increasing dietary protein requirements in elderly people for optimal muscle and bone health.
Effects of meat consumption and vegetarian diet on risk of wrist fracture over 25 years in a cohort of peri- and post-menopausal women.
Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women.
Calcium, diet and fracture risk: a prospective study of 1898 incident fractures among 34696 British women and men. Calcium requirements: new estimations for men and women by cross-sectional statistical analyses of calcium balance data from metabolic studies. Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Low dietary potassium intakes and high dietary estimates of net endogenous acid production are associated with low bone mineral density in premenopausal women and increased markers of bone resorption in postmenopausal women. Meeting and exceeding dairy recommendations: effects of dairy consumption on nutrient intakes and risk of chronic disease. Effects of meat consumption and vegetarian diet on risk of wrist fracture over 25 years in a cohort of peri- and postmenopausal women.
Effect of potassium citrate supplementation or increased fruit and vegetable intake on bone metabolism in healthy postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Public health impact of dietary phosphorus excess on bone and cardiovascular health in the general population. For that reason, your child must avoid dairy products and any foods likely to contain milk.
Hellmann’s and Best Foods have been making it for decades and also dominating the mayo market.  The original Hellmann’s came from Richard Hellmann’s wife’s recipe in 1905.
However, a new eggless mayonnaise has been developed by Hampton Creek Foods, and it actually tastes better, if you like a light, clean mayo.
According to the Human Society, there are about 252 million chickens kept in such cruel conditions. For example, a fire at very large poultry farm caused by an ammonia leak resulted in the deaths of over 100 workers. Hampton Creek Foods is also in the process of developing an eggless scrambled egg product, which already has reached the stage where it closely resembles the physical characteristics of real scrambled eggs when placed in a pan and fried. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.
Iron is part of hemoglobin in blood and myoglobin in muscles, helping deliver oxygen to cells. Foods contain two types of iron: heme iron is found in red meats, fish, and poultry, and non-heme iron is mostly from plant sources (enriched and whole grains, beans, nuts and some vegetables and fruit) as well as eggs and dairy products. Studies have found that the iron content of cast-iron cooked foods was 2 to 12 times higher than foods cooked in other types of pots: more acidic, high moisture foods and longer cooking times results in more iron leaching into foods. Eat raw as a snack, add slices to sandwiches and wraps, dip into hummus, or cook into omelets, soups, and stews. If your iron stores are normal, there is little robust evidence to suggest that taking iron supplements will improve aerobic capacity or reduce fatigue. Chronic bone loss leads to low bone mineral density and the deterioration of bone tissue – otherwise known as osteoporosis.
One reason for this is that excess phosphorus can diminish formation of active vitamin D in the body. One study indicated that with all else being equal, adding 10 dried plums per day was very beneficial for bone health. And if you tolerate dairy well, including some in your diet is a good way to ensure you are meeting your calcium needs. I’m aware of no existing evidence indicating that specific fats cause earth-shattering gains or losses in bone mass. That being said, hyperthyroidism is a risk for bone loss, so if you have this, keep on top of your bone density scores.
And kosher foods labeled “pareve” (meaning they don’t contain meat or dairy products) may have traces of milk from processing. Additionally, some are very particular about how much cholesterol they are eating, and Just Mayo has none. A little can add a rich flavor to baked goods like yeast breads, quickbreads and muffins (I use 3-4 tbsp. Hellmann’s real mayonnaise has about 5 milligrams or 2% of the daily allowance for cholesterol per tablespoon. It tastes very similar, but with a little more sour (more vinegar maybe), but the price was also better. A bonus is that most vitamin-C rich foods are full of other protective nutrients important for health. Considering that most people don’t use only one tablespoon, it could add up to a significant amount. It will be available at Whole Foods stores this week and rolled out to others in the Rocky Mountain area at the end of September and then to the Pacific Northwest, Mid Atlantic and South Pacific by the end of October.



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