Plant-Based Diet for Bone Health
The conventional wisdom held that people, particularly women over the age of 35, need to drink cow’s milk or consume dairy products to strengthen their bones and prevent osteoporosis. Bone loss in women begins after the age of 35 and increases during menopause. This is the reason why calcium becomes as important for women in midlife as it is during the rapid growth and development phase of the teenage years. The common assumption that cows milk is the best form of calcium has been challenged, and there is some indications that it is not needed to prevent bone loss.
People who want to enjoy the benefits of a plant-based vegan diet and are concerned about consuming enough bone building vitamins and minerals have many options, because a large number of foods we eat every day are dairy free and yet contain calcium, riboflavin, magnesium and vitamin K. All of these vitamins in combination help build bone, and if you consume several of these foods together, you can have a complete bone building menu.
Those who avoid dairy products and still gain exposure to vitamins and minerals that preserve and build the bones. It isn’t just calcium that is essential for bone health, but vitamin K, magnesium and other nutrients. Broccoli is rich in vitamin K which is good for osteocalcin, a type of protein found only in bones. It has been shown that vitamin K can help prevent fractures and stabilize all kinds of bones. A handful of almonds can provide you with protein and mono-saturated fats that can stave off unhealthy cravings. Almonds also contain magnesium, which is essential for bone health. Kale is a trendy vegetable among youth and has potassium in large amounts.
Soy, which is one of the most popular dairy and meat replacements, is chocked full of calcium in all of its forms including tofu, edamame, and soya milk. One of the reasons why soy is so attractive to vegans is because of its many benefits and because it replaces both protein and calcium in meat and dairy-free diets.
Not all of your calcium has to be naturally derived, but it is fine to eat fortified foods that contain calcium, potassium and magnesium. Milk replacements made of almonds, hazelnuts, soy and rice often are fortified with calcium and other vitamins and minerals to imitate milk. Although fortified products don’t have calcium in its natural form, they still provide substantial benefits for those who are concerned with bone health. Even some varieties of waffles are fortified with vitamins and iron, and are good for bones. Kids enjoy these waffles and delicious vegan cookies made from Just Cookies mix and dough put out by Hampton Creek. They love to dunk a freshly made cookie into a mug of almond milk for an amazingly healthy and bone building taste sensation.
While supplements are no replacement for a healthy diet that contains natural forms of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, a multivitamin can give you a boost when it comes to general health. Many multivitamins, aside from special formulas created especially for pregnant and menopausal women, tend not to have very much calcium. Those who want to boost the level of calcium in their diet can take a special calcium supplement. When purchasing, check the label to ensure it also has magnesium and potassium for proper absorption of the mineral.
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If you have a family history of osteoporosis and are a woman who is over the age of 35, it is worthwhile to start focusing on potential bone loss early and to increase your intake of calcium whether through natural and healthy foods or supplements. You should work on building up your bone mass prior to the peri-menopausal phase when bones can become less dense. In addition to the right diet, exercise can help strengthen the bone, particularly jogging and weightlifting which puts pressure on the body. Communicate with your doctor your concerns over possible bone loss, and in some cases, he or she may administer a bone density examination, particularly if there is osteoporosis in your family. Being proactive is essential for avoiding excessive bone loss in mid-age.
Keeping your bones healthy throughout your life does not necessarily mean consuming three or four glasses of cow’s milk a day. There are diverse forms of calcium in the plant world and supplements that can enable you to eats a plant-based diet while protecting and strengthening your bones and preventing osteoporosis.