Osteoporosis and Diet

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone. It can be characterized by more bone tissue being removed than is added. Over time this causes the bones to become thin and fragile. In this weakened state the slightest injury or wrong movement can cause them to break.

There is no single cause for osteoporosis but several risk factors have been identified. Some of these factors are uncontrollable but there are many that can be changed. There is no cure for osteoporosis, however there are treatment methods available. The best treatment is early prevention.

A recurring theme in nutrition is that degenerative diseases are caused, at least in part, by the modern western diet, which contains too much sugar, fat, salt, refined flour, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and food additives. Considering that bone is living tissue, just like the rest of the body, it is likely that one eats will determine in part how strong bones will be.

Bone Mass Density

Since bone is made up mostly of proteins, minerals, and water, lacking any of these will keep bones from forming properly. Bones that are not properly formed or are unhealthy are at a greater risk for osteoporosis related fracture. The best defense against osteoporosis is adequate bone mass density. This way when the naturally occurring removal and dissipation of bone mass occurs there is enough there even if the same amount is not replaced.

The best source of all the nutrients the body needs is in a sensible balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans, yogurt, bread and potatoes, plus smaller amounts of very lean meat, low-fat cheese and oily fish. It has been determined that there are three major reasons for modern diets and poor bone health.

Poor Diet Causes

The first is consumption. Too many people are ingesting too many of the things that are bad for the body such as sugar, caffeine, salt and alcohol. Next is the way the food is grown and refined. Much of the food we consume today has much lower quantities of necessary vitamins and minerals of days past.

Lastly, the way food is processed. Current processing methods cause chemical changes in the food that affect the balance of the body and its bones. Research has shown that sugar actually depletes much needed nutrients from the body such as magnesium, folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, manganese, and other nutrients that play a role in maintaining healthy bones.

Refined grains lack the nutrient-rich germ and bran portions that are important to overall health. The modern day diet also contains a lot of protein, and while protein has its benefits, high protein foods also contain phosphorous, which in large doses is extremely harmful to bones.

Too much protein may also promote bone loss, which is a major factor in osteoporosis. Traditional methods of farming used manure and compost to increase the trace mineral content of the soil. In modern times, however, with the emphasis on producing higher yields, farmers use large amounts of inorganic fertilizers, which are often deficient in important trace minerals and which may disturb soil mineral balance.

See Also: Calcium and Osteoporosis