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
The 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.