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Eating Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Bones
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NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION
Jeri Nieves, PhD posted:
You may already know that eating fruits and vegetables can help prevent many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and certain forms of cancer. Eating these foods may also help you reduce your chance of getting osteoporosis. Here are some possible reasons why:

Several studies have linked higher intakes of fruits and vegetables with better bone health. It is not clear why fruits and vegetables promote healthy bones. Some scientists believe that fruits and vegetables contain certain nutrients that are beneficial for bones. Could it be nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K or a combination of these vitamins in fruits and vegetables that promote healthy bones?

Calcium rich vegetables include collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens and broccoli. Magnesium is available in a variety of vegetables and fruits such as spinach, beet greens, okra, dates, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens and raisins. Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium including tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, oranges, orange juice and bananas, to name a few. Some of the fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C include red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruits, broccoli, strawberries, Brussel sprouts, papaya and pineapples. Vitamin K is found in certain dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens and Brussels sprouts.

Some experts also believe that a diet high in fruits and vegetables will make the body less acidic which may reduce the body?s need to breakdown bone for use as a buffer. The result may lead to reduced bone loss from the skeleton. Fruits and vegetables also contain anti-oxidants that may improve bone and overall health. Or perhaps people with a higher intake of fruits and vegetables just have a better overall diet contributing to stronger bones. Controlled clinical studies will help us to better understand the fruit and vegetable link to bone health.

If you eat a healthful diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you should be getting enough of most essential nutrients for strong bones. Most experts recommend multivitamins or supplements for people who do not get the nutrients they need from foods. For example, most adults over age 50 need additional vitamin D from supplements in order to meet their needs.

However, many of the nutrients that are low in American diets can be obtained from fruits and vegetables. For example, research suggests that less than 3% of people meet the daily recommendations for potassium; about 30% of people meet the daily recommendations for calcium; and about half of people meet the daily requirements for magnesium.

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About how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume on a typical day?
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  • Three-to-five (3-5)
  • One-to-two (1-2)
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wiggleworm1123 responded:
Can you reverse osteoporosis in a 30 year old?
 
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bonebabe replied to wiggleworm1123's response:
For a 30 year old to have osteoporosis, it's usually secondary to another condition. You don't say what else is going on with you that caused your osteoporosis. What does your doctor say? What meds are you on? Are you male or female? Why did you have a DXA at age 30 (or younger?) So many questions here and no info to even address.
 
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
Do you have some ideas on how it would be easier to add fruits and veggies to your diet if you just don't have time to cook or don't like veggies and fruits?
 
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wiggleworm1123 replied to bonebabe's response:
I am suspected of having Lupus. I have had recent blood work and medical conditions diagnosed. I am not on any medications as of yet. This is all new to me as testing has just been completed. Can this be secondary to Lupus? Thank you so much for answering me. It is nice to have someone to talk to.
 
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NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION
Jeri Nieves, PhD replied to wiggleworm1123's response:
Peak bone mass, the maximum bone density an individual can reach, is genetically predetermined. That is, low or high bone mass may run if your family. We usually do not expect to know a person's bone density at age 30 since a BMD test (bone density test) is rarely recommended and only indicated for premenopausal women in very rare cases such as when individuals have a medical condition or take medications that can cause bone loss. When a 30 year old has osteoporosis, it is never clear whether they did not attain sufficient peak bone mass or if they have lost bone. It is possible that if you have a family history of osteoporosis or if you have a small body size you may just have lower bone mass and you may not actively be losing bone. The amount of bone mineral density (BMD) that a person with osteoporosis can regain varies from person to person. However once a significant amount of bone density has been lost, it is hard to replace.

When premenopausal women are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is important to work with a knowledgeable healthcare provider who can help you determine if you have a medical condition that can be treated or are taking a medication that can be modified to reduce the risk of bone loss but still treat the underlying condition for which it was prescribed. It is of utmost important not to discontinue or change the way you take medication without the approval of your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can also help you develop a plan for protecting your bones. As a premenopausal women or young man, you can optimize your bone health by getting the 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day. You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid having too much caffeine, cola drinks and sodium (salt) and exercise regularly. It is also important to protect your bones by not smoking and by limiting alcohol consumption. These lifestyle habits can help you protect your bones and decrease bone loss as you age.
 
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bonebabe replied to wiggleworm1123's response:
Yes, Lupus can have a direct effect on the bones. If you need to take steroids for the Lupus, they too can deplete the bone mass. And, as Dr Nieves said above, we don't know that you ever reached your peak bone mass. The only way we'd know if you were losing bone would be to do a repeat test, preferably on the same machine with the same tech, to note any changes. Continue to get in as much calcium as you can, 1000 IU of Vit D and at least a half hour of walking each day.
 
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wiggleworm1123 replied to Jeri Nieves, PhD's response:
Thank you so much for the advice and information. It has been very helpfull
 
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wiggleworm1123 replied to bonebabe's response:
Thank you so much for the advice and information. I really appericate it.
 
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NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION
Jeri Nieves, PhD replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
One of the best ways to help make dietary changes is to visit with a registered dietician or RD. In talking with them, it was suggested that you should try and add more vegetables and fruits by adding them to what you already eat. If you have sandwiches, add some vegetables, not only lettuce and tomato. Once you have purchased vegetables you like you can throw them together a stir-fry in 10-15 minutes. Have fun experimenting with different kinds of vegetables and different flavorings. Try and add vegetables and fruits throughout the day: pour a smaller bowl of cereal to leave room for fruit; add fruit to yogurt, and vegetables to prepared soup. Try different flavor additions including parmesan cheese, flavored vinegar or a splash of a favorite salad dressing, salsa, or mustard with a bit of brown sugar. There are plenty of recipes on the web, try some until you see what you like!
 
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Peggybc7 responded:
Thank you Dr. Nieves. I will be sure to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables to keep my bones strong!

I look forward to reading more articles from you.
 
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phototaker responded:
I LOVE fruit, but because I have type II diabetes, and am not on medicine, anytime I eat a large apple for part or even a a few slices of pineapple, my blood sugar numbers really shoot up. I have to have a tiny apple with some almonds to keep it more level. I used to love a little glass of orange juice in the morning with breakfast. I can no longer do that. Should I be taking Vitamin C supplements because of this? Would that help my bones? I even gave up having white potatoes. Sometimes I'll make a small red one with my dinner, though.
I think soups is a great idea...vegetable soup sounds good.
I'll have to make my own to keep the sodium down. Any good recipes for this?


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