Using Nutrition to Reverse Osteoporosis: Building Bone

In our last two blog posts, we discussed how to combat both osteoporosis and cancer, simultaneously, by attending to digestion and also to acid-alkaline balance.  Now, we want to talk specifically about which foods are the best for equipping and encouraging the body to build and strengthen bone.

Using Supplements to Treat Osteoporosis

Pure-calcium supplements are not recommended for osteoporosis.  Calcium in isolation—without magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin K—will not go to the bones: it will harden the arteries.  (Also, many calcium supplements are just ground-up coral or similar substances, and are not bio-available.)  If supplementing, choose a high-quality food-based, complete supplement, which uses “chelated” minerals.

Beyond this, just remember: while many supplements can be significantly beneficial, they are supplements, and can never replace a quality diet. To treat osteoporosis holistically, work on upgrading your diet first; then patch any remaining holes with high-quality supplements from a trustworthy, science-based company.

The Best Foods for Building Bone

Healthy whole foods for building bone and fighting osteoporosisThe table below is a partial list.  Many foods are great for building bone—and diversity is more important than finding the “top, perfect foods.”  But this is a good place to start.  

See which foods are maybe missing from your diet, and work to include them, at a rate of one or two new foods per month.  Take your time.  Research.  

Learn how to properly source, store, process, cook, and eat the new food.  (For instance: roasted broccoli is delicious; boiled broccoli is disgusting.)  Practice a few times.  Get good at that one food, until it becomes a habit.  Then add another. As you change your diet, you should feel osteoporosis-related symptoms change as well.

Food Provide Minerals Alkalinizing Provides Vitamin C Contains Omega-3s Aids Digestion or Gut Health Other Benefits
Leafy Greens Yes Yes If raw Some ALA Yes Many valuable phytonutrients; often anti-carcinogenic
Cruciferous (Brassica) – broccoli, cauliflower, etc. S, Fe, Ca, Se Yes If raw Yes Yes Sulfur compounds stimulate osteoblasts; lots of vitamin K
Sweet Potato Mg, K Yes Yes, but much is lost in cooking Some ALA Yes Beta-carotene and other carotenoids
Citrus Fruit Yes, but mostly in the rind Yes Yes No Yes Many phytonutrients; highly anti-carcinogenic
Figs / Plums/Prunes Ca, Mg, K Figs: yes Plums: no If raw No Yes; but only eat a few prunes per day High in antioxidants
Salmon, Anchovies, Mackerel (wild-caught, not farmed) Yes, if bones are included No, but only mildly acidifying No Yes: EPA, DHA, others Omega-3s calm gut inflammation Good-quality protein; astaxanthin (a carotenoid) 
Almonds / Almond Butter Yes, many Yes No No, but several other good fats & oils Yes: fiber & prebiotics; but avoid if allergic High in anti-cancer vitamin E
Chia & Flax Ca, Mn, Mg, P, C, Se, Zn, Fe, P Yes No Yes: ALA Fiber; inflammation reduction Lowers cancer risk and balances hormones
Organic Tofu Yes, many types Yes Little Yes: ALA Yes: fiber & prebiotics; but avoid if allergic Can reduce cancer risk
Beans Ca No No Some, esp. navy beans Yes Fiber, protein; a good base for spices
Bone Broth Yes, but learn how to prepare it properly No No, but does provide lots of collagen, sparing vitamin C for other body processes Some, but only if from grass-fed (pastured)  animals Yes: very healing Collagen peptides increase bone formation.  Glucosamine aids joint health. A good base for garlic, bay leaf, spices, and vegetables.

Wait, Where’s the Milk?

Good observation: dairy is NOT on the list above.  Why not?  Well, a few reasons.  First, many people don’t tolerate dairy very well.  It does provide many good minerals, but it is acidifying, typically comes from grain-fed cows and is therefore inflammatory, and can create mucous and various digestive problems.  

Cultured dairy can be helpful for those who tolerate it—and raw, grass-fed milk is in a different category than grocery-store milk, but it’s expensive and hard to get.  

But beyond all that is this reality: even the best-quality dairy is typically not much of an asset when fighting osteoporosis. We recommend you prefer other calcium sources.

What’s Next For Treating Osteoporosis?

The table above, of course, is just a starting point.  You can easily find other, larger lists of “best foods for bone health.”  

And for more information on how we at Oncology Rehab and Wellness can assist in your nutritional journey and treating osteoporosis, please see our Nutrition Services page or give us a call. We are here to help you.