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If you had a Dexa-scan and the results indicated osteopenia, take steps now to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. The tissue and cells of your bones are always active. Diet and exercise both play a role in bone strength. This article will provide you with tips on how to prevent or reverse osteopenia which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures later in life.

Dietary calcium is vital for bone health. Calcium needs increase when women reach age 50. At the same time, women may experience a decrease in activities and reduce food intake. All women need to be mindful of consuming calcium-rich foods.

Here are some non-dairy sources of calcium:

  • Artichoke, medium -- 135 mg.
  • Collards, ½ cup -- 110 mg.
  • Turnip greens, cooked ½ cup -- 99 mg.
  • Broccoli, ½ cup -- 47 mg.
  • Kale, ½ cup cooked -- 45 mg.
  • Acorn or butternut squash, ½ cup cooked -- 45 mg.
  • Hummus, ½ cup -- 62 mg.
  • Navy beans, ½ cup cooked -- 61 mg.
  • Pinto beans, ½ cup cooked -- 51 mg.
  • Sesame seeds, 1tbsp. -- 88 mg.
  • Almonds, 1 ounce – 74 mg.
  • Sardines, with bones, canned 4 each – 242 mg.
  • Rainbow trout, 3 ounces – 75 mg.
  • Tofu, firm uncooked (calcium added in processing) – 258 mg.
  • Soymilk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces – 150 mg.

A registered dietitian can help you determine if you need a calcium supplement, how much to supplement and the ideal calcium form.

Though adequate calcium intake is vital for healthy bones, many minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients are also essential. At least five minerals, seven vitamins, and two antioxidant support bone health. Focus on eating the foods listed below which are rich in the nutrients.

Minerals:

  • Boron: Beans, berries, sweet potatoes, onions, pecans, prunes, cocoa, avocado
  • Copper: Shellfish, kale, mushrooms, nuts, beans, prunes, avocado, tempeh
  • Magnesium: Dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, fish, lentils, brown rice
  • Phosphorus: Pumpkin seeds, cheese, fish and shellfish, nuts, pork
  • Potassium: White beans, dark leafy greens, baked potatoes (yams or russet), acorn squash, yogurt, avocado, banana

Vitamins:

  • A: dark orange fruits and vegetables
  • B6: chickpeas, prunes, fish & poultry
  • B12: any animal protein, enriched nutritional yeast
  • C: Peppers, guavas, kale, kiwi, broccoli, berries
  • D: Mushrooms, rainbow trout, raisin bran, tofu, fortified dairy
  • Folate: Beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, avocado
  • K: Dark green vegetables, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, and prunes

Antioxidants

  • Lycopene: tomatoes (especially cooked and pureed), watermelon, ruby red grapefruit
  • Anthocyanin: berries, prunes, red bell pepper, and red cabbage among others

Daily Diet Habits for Strong Bones

  • Consume foods rich in calcium to obtain 1,200 mg. daily (assess your intake on pages 6 – 7)
  • Majority of protein from plants: beans, legumes, soy, and whole grains
  • 6 or more servings of vegetables daily to include one serving from each color group:
    • Dark green: especially spinach
    • Orange: especially sweet potatoes
    • Red: especially cooked & pureed tomatoes
    • Purple: especially cooked red beets
    • Pale: especially raw onions and/or cooked Asian mushrooms
  • 4 fruit servings (the three below are especially helpful)
    • 1.5 ounces of prunes (2 servings)
    • Banana half (1 serving)Blueberries, ½ cup (1serving)
  • 40 grams or more of fiber
  • 1 serving probiotic-rich food

Bone Boosting Smoothie Bowl

Enjoy this smoothie bowl as a complete nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch or dinner. The ingredients in this recipe provide at least one-third of many bone-preserving nutrients: vitamins A, B6, K, folate; copper, fluoride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. It also provides 20 percent of the daily calcium requirement and a good dose of lycopene.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain kefir (or soy milk)
  • 4 ounces silken tofu
  • 1.5 ounces prunes (dried plums), snipped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 ounces ripe avocado
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 ounces watermelon cubes, frozen

Optional Ingredients for Topping:

  • Honey drizzle
  • Cinnamon sprinkle
  • Slivered almonds

Directions

Place all ingredients in high-powered blender and process until smooth. Empty into a large shallow rimmed dish and garnish with optional topping ingredients as desired.

Recipe notes

Make ahead tip: For a quick breakfast, put all the ingredients except the frozen fruit the blender container and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, add frozen fruit and follow blending instructions.