Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone mass is lost, which leads to increased bone fragility. The disease more often affects Caucasian women, with early menopause, smokers and hereditarily burdened. This disease is due to a lack of calcium, as a result of which the bones become thinner and lose their density. They become brittle, leading to spontaneous fractures, especially in the wrists, spine and hips. Menopausal women are the most at risk group for developing osteoporosis because their bodies no longer produce the hormones that support bone mass - estrogen and progesterone .
Risk factors for the development of osteoporosis . The degree of bone demineralization is the result of a complex of individual risk factors. These are heredity, sex, bad habits, physical activity, proper nutrition is important, some concomitant diseases and more.
Calcium deficiency. The key importance of calcium for bone structure is determined by the large relative share of calcium phosphate (about 50%) in bone composition. Bones appear as a calcium depot in nutritional calcium deficiency. Inadequate calcium intake through diet or reduced calcium absorption due to suppression by other nutrients, vitamin D deficiency, and a natural decrease in absorption with age.
Undoubtedly the most important element for bones is calcium . However, their strength does not depend so much on it, but also on the ratio of calcium and phosphorus in the daily menu. In order to fully absorb this element, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, as well as a certain amount of proteins and fats that help the absorption of vitamin D must be added to the diet.
Vitamin D deficiency . Reduced synthesis of vitamin D in the skin due to insufficient exposure to sunlight and inadequate intake of vitamin D with food also has a negative effect on calcium balance.
High consumption of protein of animal origin and insufficient protein intake.
Animal and plant proteins have different effects on bone metabolism. Animal proteins provide acidic precursors, while the intake of vegetable protein - alkalizing precursors. High consumption of animal protein causes a calciuretic effect, increased bone loss and risk of fractures. On the other hand, protein malnutrition is a factor in the lack of peak bone mass and, accordingly, the risk of osteoporosis in later life. Protein malnutrition in the elderly is also a risk factor for fractures.
Alcohol abuse, coffee , high salt intake, regular smoking. Studies of people with alcohol dependence suggest a direct toxic effect on osteoblasts and other adverse effects on bone mass. Moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with an increased risk of fractures and decreased bone density. Coffee abuse and high consumption of salty foods increase the excretion of calcium in the urine. Smoking also reduces bone density.
Prevention of nutrition-related osteoporosis . To reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in adulthood, prevention needs to start early. Adequate dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D are key factors in maintaining skeletal strength. An excellent source of calcium are milk, dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, canned fish, almonds, hazelnuts, and vitamin D is the vitamin that ensures good absorption of calcium from food. It is found in a limited number of foods - oily fish, especially salmon, fish oil, egg yolk.
Other nutrients needed for bone health are magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, zinc. They are contained in most foods and their regular intake is recommended.
Prevention of osteoporosis through diet includes optimal intake of calcium with food, not less than 400-500 mg per day. Calcium needs are different at different ages in life.
Which foods should be on the menu? In the first place, of course, are milk and dairy products. They have an optimal ratio of calcium and phosphorus. Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, carrots. Legumes and nuts should also be part of the diet. They contain fats and proteins that help absorb vitamin D.
Foods to avoid. It is not recommended to consume (or it is recommended to consume them in moderation) sugar, honey, pasta, coffee, tea. Refined products and caffeine disrupt calcium absorption. Alcohol abuse, smoking and salt are also factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis.