Osteoporosis is a challenge that authorities are facing in both South Africa and around the globe. Typically, and wrongly so, considered a dominantly female condition, Western Cape Authorities have noted that worldwide 25% of 50+ males experience osteoporotic fractures in comparison to 33% of women. With the challenges posed being so acute and serious, prevention and treatment are essential.
Whilst there is a multitude of clinical treatments for osteoporosis that have impressive benefits for the diagnosis, those with the condition can improve their health even further by integrating the correct sort of nutrition.
The Importance of Vitamins
For both prevention and mitigation of Osteoporosis, focus on key nutrients and vitamins in your diet is key. Vitamin D is one such crucial component. A 2012 study by MDPI Nutrients found that poor Vitamin D bioavailability impacted bone strength, even in adolescents. So, how do you go about increasing your D intake? First off, remember that the best way to increase Vitamin D levels is naturally through moderate exposure to the sun’s rays. In countries with low sunlight hours, like in Northern Europe, this poses a healthcare risk. Secondly, many foods have a good supply. The popular African dishes such as Cape Breyani and Bobotie, which hails from South Africa, have excellent Vitamin D rich ingredients like eggs and milk.
Bones are constructed mainly from Calcium and thus it is crucial in maintaining their health. People suffering from Osteoporosis should, therefore, see to it that their Calcium intake is sufficient; also very important after a fracture when the nutrients are required to assist repair. Dairy products are the best sources of protein and calcium and low fat and skimmed milk products contain as much and a little more calcium than full fat products. Other sources of calcium are found in green leafy vegetables and certain nuts.
Finally, a word on Protein. Too much Protein can be problematic and cause kidney problems originating from the exhaustion of your organs that allows bacteria to flourish. However, as dangerous as too much Protein can be, having enough Protein in your diet is crucial in building muscle strength and fighting infection. When we strengthen our muscles, less weight needs to be carried by our bones. Protein also has anti-inflammatory qualities to benefit your joints. Some of the highest protein foods aren’t expensive and will benefit your diet massively.
The unfortunate reality of the situation is that Osteoporosis is a challenge a large set of people will face in their lives. Through careful medication and therapy, it can be managed – or prevented – but you can benefit yourself even more by implementing nutritional changes.
NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa)
NOFSA is the only non-profit, voluntary health organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health. We focus on reducing the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis while working to find a cure for the disease, and by supporting research and developing programmes of education and advocacy.
Find out more about our work at: www.osteoporosis.org.za
Written by: Lucy Wyndham