Everything You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

Everything You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

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article by Dr. Mariangel Leota

Osteoporosis It is a disease of the skeleton that usually appears in the middle age of life and that progresses as the years go by. It is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and a deterioration of the bone structure.

According to some studies, one in four postmenopausal women has osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

The main problem with osteoporosis is precisely that it does not usually signal or cause symptoms until a fracture occurs. For this reason, it is often said that it is a silent or silent disease.

The most frequent fractures due to osteoporosis are those of the hip, femur, humerus, wrist and vertebrae. Generally, they occur after impacts or falls of low intensity in which a healthy bone probably would not have fractured.

The pain appears as a consequence of the break and not before it. Some vertebral fractures can even go unnoticed and give no symptoms, and they are usually discovered when the patient is x-rayed for another reason.

How to diagnose osteoporosis?

Densitometry is the test used to check bone mass and diagnose or rule out osteoporosis.

As of menopause, it is important that the woman perform this test in order to control the bone mineral density she has, since it is at this stage when the risk of suffering from this disease increases.

How osteoporosis can affect?

When the disease is well advanced, the bones become so fragile and thin that the minimum blow can cause a fracture, and even the simple act of coughing or sneezing can cause a rib to break.

Fractures can limit mobility especially in people of a certain age and make them dependent. For this reason, caring for and maintaining healthy bones from an early age adopting a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to not get to this situation.

How to treat and prevent osteoporosis?

Modifying the lifestyle and making it healthier is essential for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Adopting these measures can prevent future fractures:

  • Follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet, rich in foods with calcium and vitamin D.
  • Sunbathing is a good way to maintain healthy bones, because a low sun exposure causes a deficit of vitamin D in the body and this hinders the absorption of calcium. About 10-15 minutes a day is enough.
  • Practice moderate physical exercise on a regular basis, for example, walking 30 minutes a day at a good pace.
  • Maintain proper postures when walking or sitting.
  • Prevent overweight and obesity.
  • Avoid toxic habits, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, excess caffeine or drug use.

Apart from these precautions, there are different types of medicines that, although they do not cure the disease, can help prevent them from going over or make their progression slower. This is the case of estrogens, calcitonin or bisphosphonates.

However, recent studies have warned that calcium and vitamin D supplements are not indicated in all cases of osteoporosis, as its efficacy in the prevention of fractures has not been demonstrated. In addition, they can cause gastrointestinal problems and there are doubts about whether they increase cardiovascular risk.

On the other hand, it seems that vitamin A supplements increase the risk of fracture, so they should not be taken unless it is indicated by the doctor. Likewise, taking corticosteroids for a long period of time can weaken the bones.

Natural treatment for osteoporosis

Our bones are a living tissue that constantly absorbs or releases calcium, as the body needs. Osteoporosis arises when the body is not able to produce enough bone or reabsorbs too much, and this is heavily influenced by diet.

Basically, our bones are formed by calcium, proteins, including collagen, water and other minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Certain vitamins such as K2 and D help fix calcium in the bone.

On the other hand, excess sugar and protein, refined foods, coffee, alcohol and salt can cause bone loss.

18 foods rich in calcium to prevent or stop osteoporosis

Traditionally we have been told that to strengthen our bones we have to increase our consumption of dairy products. The problem with dairy products is that in addition to calcium, they have a lot of phosphorus. This is essential, but in excess it competes with calcium and prevents it from being properly fixed in the bones. That is, dairy products are not only dispensable, but can also be counterproductive.

But calcium is not only in dairy. The vegetable diet is ideal for osteoporosis. There are plant sources of calcium that are better assimilated than dairy products.

  1. Black sesame

These seeds are rich in antioxidants and calcium, the mineral most needed for bones.

Ideally, 2 tablespoons a day. You can make tahini and use it in countless sweet and salty preparations.

  1. Kombu seaweed

It has abundant vitamins and minerals, like most sea vegetables, and is ideal for enriching soups and broths. You can also cook cereals and legumes with a slice to make them more digestive.

Add a dry piece, about 2 fingers, to all your broths and cooking cereals and legumes.

  1. Azuki beans

Traditional Chinese Medicine advises them together with black soybeans to strengthen bones, for their proteins and antioxidants. Well cooked they are very digestive and introduce variety in the diet.

Take them 2-3 days a week, boiled with vegetables or in the form of pate.

4. Col kale

Cabbages in general are especially rich in high availability calcium. The kale, in addition, is very versatile: you can make it steamed, marinated in salad or in the form of dehydrated chips, for example.

We recommend that you take 4-5 leaves every day, in broths, salads, chips or any other variation.

5. Almonds

Nuts contain high levels of calcium, especially almonds. You will take more advantage of its nutrients if you activate them by previously soaking them in water. 

Take 1 handful a day, preferably with a pre-soak of 8-12 hours in water to activate them.

6. Orange

Taking frequently foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange, favors the formation of collagen, necessary for the formation of bone.

Take one or two oranges, 5-6 days a week.

7. Nuts

They are a good source of omega-3. These fatty acids influence the activity of bone-forming cells, which can reduce the risk of fractures.

1 handful of nuts a day, raw as is or with a previous soak to make them more digestive.

8. Dates

They are very nutritious. Eat two a day, for example of the tasty variety Medjoul, provides minerals, proteins and vitamins that favor the formation of bone tissue and the proper functioning of the body. They also satisfy the need for candy at any time.

Taking 2-3 a day will help prevent osteoporosis.

9. Whole grains

They are much more nutritious than the refined versions. Some provide more protein than others, and all will be more digestive if soaked in mineral water for 8 hours and cooked with kombu seaweed. Take them 3 times a week, introducing variety. 

10. Spinach

They are rich in vitamin K2, another vitamin that is involved in the formation of bone. In addition, green leaves in general contain a large amount of calcium and minerals necessary for bone tissue.

Take them twice a week as a main course or garnish.

11. Peanut butter

Magnesium is a vital component for the strengthening, preservation and reconstruction of bones. You can get 50 mg of magnesium by eating 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

12. Vinegar

A splash of vinegar when you are cooking will help remove calcium from the bones. The same is done for green salads, so you should make vinegar the new favorite dressing.

13. Apple

 Boron is a mineral that helps the body maintain calcium, the building block of bones. It even acts as a mild estrogen replacement and the loss of estrogen is critical in the loss of bone at a high speed.

14. Banana

Eating a banana a day helps build the bones. Studies have found that women on diets rich in potassium also have stronger bones in their spines and hips.

15. Broccoli

Eat 1/2 cup of broccoli to get your daily dose of vitamin D, necessary for calcium absorption and increased bone density, decreasing osteoporosis.

16. Green leafy vegetables

 Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale and cabbage are good choices because of their high calcium content.

17. Milk

 When it comes to strong bones, consuming enough calcium is imperative. A cup of milk can provide 300 mg of the 1,000 or 1,200 mg of calcium that is recommended to consume each day.

18. Pineapple juice

Drink a cup of pineapple juice and you will give your body a little manganese. Other sources of manganese are oatmeal, nuts, beans, cereals, spinach and tea.

Blue fish rich in healthy oils such as salmon and sardines

Both delicious fish are rich in calcium and salmon is also a good source of vitamin D.

Reverse or Prevent Osteoporosis?

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