Dietary tips for osteoporosis prevention | Updated: 2023-10-21
Osteoporosis is a systemic bone disease characterized by low bone mass, damage to the microarchitecture of bone tissue, increased bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures. It can occur at any age.
In 2018, the first epidemiological survey on osteoporosis in China revealed that the prevalence of osteoporosis among individuals over 50 years old was 19.2%, while the prevalence rose to 32.0% among those aged over 65 years old. According to estimates based on the seventh national census data, the current number of patients suffering from osteoporosis in China is approximately 90 million, with around 70 million being female.
Early precautions can significantly reduce the probability of fractures and improve the efficacy of treatment in terms of slow recovery and poor therapeutic effects after fractures.
Dietary tips for osteoporosis prevention
The general principle is a reasonable and balanced diet with adequate nutrition. It is recommended to have a diverse range of foods, ensuring three meals a day and reasonable choice of snacks. For the elderly who are more prone to osteoporosis, a sufficient total energy intake is important, but should not be excessively high. Additionally, it is advisable to consume a balanced diet rich in calcium, low in salt (5 grams/day), and with a moderate amount of protein.
Calcium is an important component of human bones, and adequate calcium intake is beneficial to achieving ideal peak bone mass, mitigating bone loss, improving bone mineralization, and maintaining bone health. The recommended daily calcium intake for adults in China is 800 milligrams. For calcium intake, dietary calcium supplementation is preferred. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, fish, shrimps, crabs, legumes, and nuts. In addition, taking safe and effective calcium supplements is also an effective measure. It should be noted that calcium supplements should be avoided by patients with hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria. In addition, excessive calcium intake may increase the risk of kidney stones and cardiovascular disease.
Excessive sodium intake is not beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis as it can lead to calcium loss in the bones. Therefore, it is recommended to follow a low-sodium diet, with a daily salt intake not exceeding 5 grams. It is advised to use less salt during cooking and to eat fewer salty foods such as salted duck eggs, pickles, instant noodles, and French fries.
A moderate intake of protein is also crucial. Adequate protein intake, along with certain amino acids, can form soluble complexes with calcium, which is beneficial for calcium absorption. However, when protein intake exceeds the recommended amount, no further beneficial effects have been observed. Instead, it can potentially strain the liver and kidneys. Therefore, a balanced diet with a daily protein intake of 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight (for the elderly engaged in resistance training, the recommended daily protein intake is 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight) is beneficial for calcium absorption. It is recommended to choose high-quality proteins such as fish, shrimp, and poultry.
The growth and metabolism of bones are influenced by various vitamins, among which vitamin D is particularly important. Vitamin D can be produced by the skin through exposure to sunlight (it is recommended to choose a suitable time according to the intensity of sunlight, and expose the skin as much as possible to sunlight for 15-30 minutes. The duration depends on factors such as the duration of sunlight, latitude, and season). Vitamin D also exists in such foods as fish, liver, egg yolks, and dairy products. The recommended daily intake for adults is 400 IU (10 micrograms/day), while for elderly people who suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sufficient sunlight exposure and difficulties in intake and absorption, the recommended amount is 600 IU (15 micrograms/day).
In terms of bone calcium absorption, fat intake also plays a part. High-fat meals can prolong intestinal residence and the contact time between calcium and the mucosa, which can increase calcium absorption. However, fatty acid calcium produced while fatty acids combining with calcium can affect calcium absorption. Therefore, fat intake should be kept in a moderate amount.
Inorganic salt
Inorganic salts such as phosphorus, magnesium and zinc need to be consumed in appropriate and balanced amounts. Mineralization is hindered when the product of calcium and phosphorus ions is less than 35. However, excessive intake of phosphorus can induce osteoporosis. Additionally, the intake of trace elements, such as magnesium and zinc, should also be kept in a moderate amount.

Oxalic acid, phytic acid, and more
In addition, substances such as oxalic acid and phytic acid hinder the absorption of calcium and have an adverse effect on the prevention of osteoporosis. To address this issue, we can take such measures as blanching vegetables and removing corn husks to make corn tortillas to reduce their adverse effects on calcium absorption.