Foods to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common disease in which 1.5 million Canadians, 40 years or older share. This degenerative disease is characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue making an individual more susceptible to osteoporotic fractures. There is not a doubt that it earned its name the “Silent Thief” because bone loss occurs without anyone realizing it.

Osteoporosis Facts at a Glance

  • Women are 4 times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporotic fractures are more common than breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes combined.
  • More than 80 percent of all fractures in those over the age of 50 are osteoporotic fractures.
  • In Canada there are 30,000 hip fractures annually of which 70 to 90 percent are cause by osteoporosis.
  • One in three hip fracture patients re-fracture with one year.
  • Osteoporosis hip fracture patients take up more hospital beds than those with diabetes, stroke, or heart attacks.
  • In 2010, the annual (Canadian) health care costs of treating osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures was over $2.3 billion. That cost was $3.9 billion if long-term facility care costs are included.

What really is most disturbing is the reduced quality of life for those with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can result in disfigurement, lowered self-esteem, reduction or loss of mobility, and decreased independence.

Exercise and Supplements

There is not a doubt that exercise is critical in not just staying healthy, but in helping to prevent osteoporosis. Exercises geared at increasing muscle strength combined with weight-bearing aerobic physical activity, helps to prevent bone loss as we age. Health care professionals all have different opinions on how much exercise is recommended but many appear to agree on 30 minutes of both aerobic and strengthening exercises two to three times a week.

The use of calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and vitamin D supplements is important because many people are not getting what they need from their food; and of course vitamin D is not in many foods. Calcium alone is not good enough to help keep bones healthy because without cofactors such as magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin D, calcium does not get to where it needs to. Supplementation is not the panacea for strong bones – eating a healthy diet and exercising is.

Foods to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is probably best known for its role in the blood clotting process; blood clots are necessary to stop bleeding when our skin gets punctured. It is also plays a very important role in bone health.

Excellent food sources of vitamin K include: kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, parsley, broccoli, brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, asparagus, basil, cabbage, bok choy, celery, kiwi fruit, leeks, cilantro, sage, green beans, cauliflower, cucumber, tomatoes, oregano and black pepper.

Very good food sources of vitamin K are in green peas, blueberries, grapes, carrots, summer squash, cloves and chili peppers.

Good food sources of vitamin K include: soybeans, avocado, raspberries, winter squash, pears, cranberries, miso, bell peppers, plums, cantaloupe, and eggplant.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to softening or malformation of bone. In children, this condition is called rickets. In adults, it is called osteomalacia.

The relationship between vitamin D and bone metabolism is somewhat complicated. As a hormone, vitamin D acts to increase calcium in the blood stream. It manages this by increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium from foods and by reducing the calcium you lose in your urine. However, it also pulls calcium from the bone to support your blood levels; this is why it is really important to get lots of vitamin D into you every day.

Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D. Sardines and cow’s milk is a very good source of this nutrient and tuna, eggs, and mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D.

The best way to get your vitamin D is from the sunlight. Human skin cells make vitamin D from sunlight, but here in Canada this is a small window of opportunity ( June and July mostly) to get vitamin D so getting this vitamin from food sources or supplements is really important.


At any given time, about 99 percent of the calcium our body holds is in the bones and teeth. Calcium plays a critical role in maintaining structural integrity of our skeleton.

Excellent food sources of calcium include: spinach, collard greens, beet greens, tofu, turnip greens, mustard greens, and bok choy.

Very good sources of calcium are found in: yogurt, swiss chard, kale, and cinnamon.

Good sources of calcium include: sesame seeds, sardines, cheese, cow’s milk, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, oranges, summer squash, fennel, parsley, asparagus, celery, cumin, basil, garlic, oregano, leeks, romaine lettuce, cloves, and black pepper.


Magnesium is a key mineral in human metabolism. 50 to 60 percent of magnesium in our body is stored in the bones.

Excellent sources of magnesium can be found in: spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens.

Very good sources include: pumpkin seeds, summer squash, and turnip greens.

There are many good sources of magnesium and these include: soybeans, sesame seeds, black beans, quinoa, cashews, sunflowers seeds, navy beans, tempeh, buckwheat, pinto beans, brown rice, barley, lima beans, millet, kidney beans, oats, tofu, almonds, rye, wheat, tuna, flaxseeds, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, asparagus, tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, fennel, leeks, cucumber, basil, celery, bell peppers, and much more.

If you have osteoporosis, our chiropractor and physiotherapists can help.

Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help assess you and recommend an appropriate strengthening program. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.


What is the impact of osteoporosis in Canada and what are Canadians doing to maintain healthy bones? (2010, November 30). Retrieved March 7, 2016, from

The World's Healthiest Foods. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2016, from

March 8, 2016

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