Chronic stress, use of stimulants, (coffee, energy drinks, sugar,
smoking, drugs) and poor eating habits will burn out adrenal glands
and cause osteopenia and osteoporosis meaning bone loss.

1. Eat a Lot of Vegetables

Vegetables are great for your bones.

They’re one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the
production of bone-forming cells. Some studies suggest that vitamin
C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage

Vegetables also increase bone density.

Eating lots of vegetables has also been found to benefit older

A study in women over 50 found those who consumed onions most
frequently had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis, compared to women
who rarely ate them (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19240657).

In a three-month study, women who consumed more than nine servings
of broccoli, cabbage, parsley or other plants high in bone-protective
antioxidants had a decrease in bone turnover

2. Weight Bearing
Exercises and Strength Training

Bone loss can come in part from overexercising, without eating
enough protein.

Bone loss can also come from not exercising.

Exercise is necessary for strong bones. However, when you exercise
there must be time in between exercising for your body to heal and
rebuild before exercising again. If not, bone loss occurs.

Weight Bearing Exercises include walking, stair climbing, hiking,
dancing and weight lifting. Push-ups and squats are very good also.
Even though some exercises like biking and swimming are not weight
bearing they still cause the muscles to pull against the bone adding
bone density.

These exercises can be extremely beneficial for preventing bone
loss in older adults.

Studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing
exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and
bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25322335,

3. Eat Protein

Bones are mainly protein. Proteins breakdown and rebuild. This is
normal. Adrenaline breaks them down. Protein rebuilds.

If you eat protein by itself or if you eat too much protein,
adrenaline is secreted and bone loss can occur.

Eating an unbalanced diet causes bone loss. It is imperative that
there is a balance between protein and carbohydrates to keep the
adrenaline levels balanced.

Research suggests that older women, in particular, appear to have
better bone density when they consume higher amounts of protein

In a large, six-year observational study of over 144,000
postmenopausal women, higher protein intake was linked to a lower
risk of forearm fractures and significantly higher bone density in
the hip, spine and total body

What’s more, diets containing a greater percentage of calories
from protein may help preserve bone mass during weight loss.

4. High-Calcium Foods Should
Be Spaced Throughout the Day

Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health, and it’s
the main mineral found in your bones.

Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by
new ones, it’s important to consume calcium daily to protect bone
structure and strength.

We need about 1000 mg of Calcium a day. But as we always say Take
your supplements in your food throughout the day.

Calcium is tricky for your body to absorb.

Interestingly, if you eat a meal containing more than 500 mg of
calcium, your body will absorb much less of it than if you consume a
lower amount.

It is best to spread your calcium intake throughout the day by
including one high calcium food with each meal.

It’s also best to get calcium from foods rather than supplements.

Here is a list of great foods containing calcium.

  • Seeds
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Sardines and Canned Salmon
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Almonds
  • Whey Proteins
  • Some Leafy Greens – Kale, Collard, Spinach
  • Rhubarb

A recent 10-year study of 1,567 people found that although high
calcium intake from foods decreased the risk of heart disease
overall, those who took calcium supplements had a 22% greater risk of
heart disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27729333).

5. Get Plenty of Vitamin D
and Vitamin K

Vitamin D and vitamin K are extremely important for building
strong bones.

Vitamin D plays several roles in bone health, including helping
your body absorb calcium.

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common, affecting
about one billion people worldwide.

You may be able to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and
food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many
people need to supplement with up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to
maintain optimal levels.

Foods that provide vitamin D include:

  • Fatty Fish, like tune, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with Vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, and cereal.
  • Beef Liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg Yolks

To get vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. Three ounces of cooked salmon has more than 450 international units (IU).

Vitamin  D

  • Age 1-70: 600 IU

  • Age 71 and older: 800 IU

Your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D,
especially if you aren’t getting enough of them or are at risk for

Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a
protein involved in bone formation. This modification enables
osteocalcin to bind to minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss
of calcium from bones.

The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 ab=nd MK-7. MK-4
exists are in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like
cheese, and sauerkraut contain MK-7.

In a study of women 50–65 years of age, those who took MK-4
maintained bone density, whereas the group that received a placebo
showed a significant decrease in bone density after 12 months

6. Very Low-Calorie Diets
Should Be Avoided

Consuming too few calories is never a good idea.

Toos few calories cause your metabolism to slow down. This causes rebound
hunger and  muscle mass loss, causing harm to bone health.

We at Heartiness Approach do not count calories. It is not part of
our lifestyle.

Studies have shown that diets providing fewer than 1,000 calories
per day can lead to lower bone density in normal-weight, overweight
or obese individuals.

In one study, obese women who consumed 925 calories per day for
four months experienced a significant loss of bone density from their
hip and upper thigh region, regardless of whether they performed
resistance training (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9258265).

To build and maintain strong bones, follow a well-balanced diet
that provides at least 1,200 calories per day. It should include
plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals that
support bone health.

8. Maintain a Stable,
Healthy Weight

In addition to eating a nutritious diet, maintaining
a healthy weight
 can help support bone health.

For example, being underweight increases the risk of osteopenia
and osteoporosis.

This is especially the case in postmenopausal women
who have lost the bone-protective effects of estrogen.

In fact, low body weight is the main factor contributing to
reduced bone density and bone loss in this age group

On the other hand, some studies suggest that being obese can
impair bone quality and increase the risk of fractures due to the
stress of excess weight

Maintaining a stable normal or slightly higher than normal weight
is your best bet when it comes to protecting your bone health.

9. Include Foods High in
Magnesium and Zinc

Magnesium is a key player in converting vitamin D into the
active form that promotes calcium absorption.

An observational study of over 73,000 women found that those who
consumed 400 mg of magnesium per day tended to have 2–3% higher
bone density than women who consumed half this amount daily

Magnesium is found in small amounts in most foods However there
are a few foods that are an excellent source, You will see an overlap
from some foods mentioned above.

  • Dark Chocolate (1oz serving) 64 mg
  • Avocodo (1 medium) 58 mg
  • Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Brazil Nuts – (1 oz) 82mg
  • Legumes (example – 1 cup cooked black beans) – 120mg
  • Seeds – Flax, pumpkin, Chia – (1 oz) 150 mg
  • Whole Grains – Wheat oats, barley, quinoa, Buckwheat –
    (1 oz dry buckwheat) 65mg
  • Some Fatty Fish – Salmon, Mackerel, Halibut (½ fillet, 178gms) 53 gms
  • Bananas (1 large ) 37 mg
  • Leafy Greens- Spinach, Collard, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens (1 cup cooked) 157 mg

Zinc is a trace mineral needed in very small amounts. It
helps make up the mineral portion of your bones.

In addition, zinc promotes the formation of bone-building cells
and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone.

Studies have shown that zinc supplements support bone growth in
children and the maintenance of bone density in older adults
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4469220).                                                                                                                      This is one supplement we have taken in the mornings with our
vitamin C because it also boosts the immune system. However anytime
we can eat our supplements in the food we eat, all the better, Some
of the good sources of zinc include beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds,
oysters and pumpkin seeds.

10. Consume Foods High in
Omega-3 Fats

Besides Omega 3 being known for it’s anti-inflammatory
properties, Omega 3 has been shown to help protect against bone loss
during the aging process
Heartiness Approach continues to address the need to balance Omega 3
and Omega 6. Most people have far too much Omega 6.

In one large study of over 1,500 adults aged 45–90, those
who consumed a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids tended
to have lower bone density than people with a lower ratio of the two
fats (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25285409).

Always aim for an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 or lower.

Plant sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds, flaxseeds and

Rhenda Wilson, RN, BSN currently a Master of Science student for Holistic Nutrition. She is attending Hawthorn University. I am a registered nurse who has tried to retire two times. When I am ready, they say that “The third time is the charm”. In 2008 my husband had a heart scare and spent three days in the cardiac unit. After many tests, his heart was found to be find, but his stress level, weight and other cholesterol were not doing well. This event scared us and we changed our lifestyle. We eliminated all our processed food and and lost weight and got healthy. We asked others to teach what we had done to accomplish such great health. We are now in our sixties and take no medications. My husband became a fitness trainer and I study nutrition. Ongoing research has become a part of our lives. (2020)