Confused about what’s good/bad for your to eat?
Especially if you have Osteoporosis?
You are not alone
Recently certain food ‘gurus’ have been distancing themselves from leaving out food groups such as dairy from their diets- loudly claiming they never meant this. I somehow feel there is probably a ‘baguettes at dawn’ storm brewing, so be prepared to duck if you go to a Food Fayre near you!
At last it seems that sensible eating might be getting a look-in. Fad diets have had their day.
What we need when dealing with Osteoporosis
Healthy bones need a well-balanced calcium-rich diet that incorporates food from a range of different food groups. But as researchers delve further into the topic, frequently out comes conflicting advice.
Here is the latest – but keep an eye out for new research, as who is to say if and when things won’t change!
When one looks it up, there are actually a lot of foods that are useful and helpful to eat to help our bones. Just scroll down the list and choose your favourites.
And think about advice from cancer.net, the official U.S. Government website:
- Stop smoking
- Eat foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D
- limit alcohol
It was a chance remark by my Consultant, married up with something I heard on the radio – as one does. Putting the two together, I am now a happy bunny drinking “proper” milk.
When I saw my very sensible doctor last week I mentioned the hoo-hah going on, and said I still liked dairy. His advice was to drink as much milk – even full-fat – as I wanted. Yes, full-fat was fattening, but against that it filled you up for longer, so was probably going to stop you from snacking. And he’s right. So I ditched the skimmed.
Having grown up in the country, with our own Jersey herd that supplied milk, I always found the watery stuff in London too weak for my taste. For years, trying to eat healthily, I tried everything to make sure I drank my allocation for the day, but did everything to disguise the taste of skimmed by making souffles, bread and butter pudding – you know the tricks.
Now, thanks to sensible advice from my doctor, I have gone back to drinking Jersey full-fat milk.
The Food Standards Agency advises that we should all be eating two portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish. Fish such as whitebait, canned sardines, pilchards and salmon – where the canning process means that the bones are edible – are great sources of calcium. A 100g portion of fried whitebait contains 860mg of calcium, and 100g of sardines in tomato sauce has 500mg of calcium in it.
Oily fish are also a good source of vitamin D which ensures that calcium is well absorbed. A 100g portion of grilled salmon contains 7.1 micrograms of vitamin D; 100g of tinned pilchards contains 14 micrograms of vitamin D. Oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. White fish such as cod, haddock, plaice and whiting contain some omega- 3 but at much lower levels than oily fish.
We need some of following each day for bone health:
- dairy – milk, yogurt, cream, cheese etc.
- green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, okra.fennel, spinach etc.
- fortified orange juice
- sesame seeds
- dried figs and apricots
- tofu, calcium fortified
- soya drinks with added calcium
- soya beans
- bakery produce made from fortified flour
- calcium fortified breakfast cereals
- fish with small edible bones, such as sardines and pilchards.
Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight. This is vitally important to us, and is stored in the body throughout the summer months for use during this time and also during the winter. People over the age of 65 are not as effective at producing vitamin D from sunlight and rely more on dietary sources.
This vitamin is important as it helps your body to absorb calcium. Most vitamin D is made by our bodies when skin is exposed to sunlight. Short-term exposure to sunlight without sunscreen (around 10 minutes, twice a day) when the sun is shining should be enough for the whole year.
Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods, including:
- oily fish such as sardines and salmon
- fortified fat spreads
- powdered milk
- fortified breakfast cereals.
Foods to limit
As well as ensuring you eat a balanced diet containing bone-healthy foods, it is important to know that some foods can decrease bone density. Such foods should be limited, especially if you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis, such as Salt. To stay within the recommended daily amount
- Check food labels for salt content to monitor your intake.
- Use herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt.
- Avoid high-salt items e.g. processed foods, baked goods and canned soups/sauces.
Many soft drinks contain phosphoric acid. This can increase calcium excretion when you urinate, which can be a problem if your calcium intake is already low.
Try to limit your intake of carbonated drinks and opt for water and fruit juices instead.
While not as damaging as salt, caffeine also has a detrimental effect on bone density. Limiting your intake to 300mg a day while ensuring you are getting enough calcium from your diet is advised.
Interestingly, tea has been found to do less harm than coffee. This is thought to be because tea contains plant compounds that protect bone. Try to switch from coffee to tea and drink plenty of water and milk too.