Today in Canada, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are living with osteoporosis. Although multiple factors can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, our food intake can play a big role. In fact, a diet high in fruits, veggies and dairy products (or substitutes, such as soy beverage), especially if implemented at a young age, can help prevent osteoporosis. Of course, if you are no longer a child, there is no need to despair! It is still possible to reap the benefits of a diet high in fruits, vegetables and dairy, no matter the age.
Although a large body of evidence demonstrates the positive impact of dairy products and its prevention of osteoporosis, we figured many of you nutrition fiends already knew that. Given that october 20th is National Osteoporosis day, we decided to add a little spin on the topic and tell you about 3 surprising foods that may contribute to better bone health.
Although many already know prunes for their power in constipation relief, recent data suggests that it could even be beneficial for bone health, especially for post menopausal women. It’s been suggested that prunes promote bone solidity and prevent bone degradation. Researchers don’t quite understand why this is the case, but it’s high vitamin K, potassium and manganese content presents an interesting nutritional profile for bone health.
Without having to eat them every day, it is still interesting to know their potential health benefits and to think up ways of incorporating them in our favorite foods. Think blending them into smoothies, topping your oatmeal or even hiding them in your date squares!
Although we love seeing every color of the rainbow on our plates, green vegetables, such as kale, green collards, okra or broccoli, have been shown to be particularly interesting for bone health. Researchers believe that green vegetables, with their high calcium and vitamin K content, can be advantageous for the maintenance of bone structure, because they increase bone density, which in turn helps them stay solid and helps prevent fractures.
However, beware! Spinach is not included in the above list, as it’s high oxalate content decreases calcium absorption.
We recommend incorporating kale or collard greens in your salad, trying out kale chips (this recipe by Oh She Glows is particularly delicious and so easy) or roasting broccoli to add to your favorite dinner rotation.
Many studies show that certain types of fat, especially those from vegetable sources, can be advantageous for bone health. On the other hand, animal sources of fat, such as red meat, is high in saturated fat, which decreases calcium absorption in the gut and increases inflammation in the body. These two processes can lead to loss of bone mass.
So how can one integrate fats from vegetable oils into their diet? By simply replacing butter or red meat (particularly beef) with sources of fat from avocado, nuts or oils such as canola and olive!
Here is to great bone health!
Stéphanie Leduc, RD,
Équipe Nutrition Préventive Johanne Vézina