Healthy dietary foods for osteoporosis

The food that you eat can have a positive or negative effect on your bones. Learning about the foods that are important for good bone health will help you make healthier food choices in your everyday diet for osteoporosis.

There are then foods that you should avoid if you have osteoporosis. They are bad for your bone health and can make your bones weak. We have listed them all below.

If your osteoporosis diet is well-balanced and contains plenty of dairy foods, fish, fruits, and vegetables, you should be okay with your daily need for nutrients. However, otherwise, you may need to additionally take supplements to fulfill your need.

Your diet should include foods that are good sources of bone-friendly nutrients, such as protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins D, C, and K.

Osteoporosis foods should form part of your daily diet routinely to prevent or halt the progressive stages of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not reversible, but the right nutrient-dense diet along with treatment with osteoporosis drugs, and weight-bearing exercises can help prevent further bone loss.


Protein is important for bone health because it’s a major component of bone tissue and has a positive effect on bone mineral density. The best choices include:

  • Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts
  • Animal food sources include lean beef, chicken, salmon, and eggs.
  • Dairy products include milk, yogurt, and cheese


Calcium is vital for bone health. It is the main building block of bone, and it prevents the loss of bone and osteoporotic fractures in older people. Calcium deficiency can lead to loss of bone strength and osteoporosis

The following foods are good sources of  calcium:

    • Milk, cheese, and other dairy foods
    • Green leafy vegetables – such as curly kale, okra but not spinach (spinach does contain high levels of calcium but the body cannot digest it all)
    • Soya drinks with added calcium
    • Bread and anything made with fortified flour


The mineral zinc is essential for building strong bones, though its importance for bone health is often underestimated. An increasing number of studies indicate that adults with osteoporosis have low levels of zinc.

Zinc is an essential mineral, which promotes skeletal growth and bone homeostasis. Furthermore, it also promotes bone regeneration.

Food sources of zinc include leafy vegetables, legumes, meat, and dark chocolate


Magnesium is an essential mineral for strong healthy bones and may be particularly effective at promoting bone density.

People with a good intake of magnesium show a higher bone mineral density, which reduces the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Good magnesium supplementation from foods or supplements may help older women improve their bone mineral density.

Food sources include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, leafy vegetables, and legumes

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps to reduce bone loss and the risk of fracture especially in older preople. Along with calcium, vitamin D is used to treat osteoporosis and is also given prophylactically to prevent it.

A sufficient amount of vitamin D must be present for the body to absorb calcium. Besides food sources, our skin makes vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Most of our body’s requirement comes from sunlight exposure. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can result in osteoporosis and easy fractures.

Food sources include:

  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for maintaining bone health. It is vital for the production of collagen in the bone matrix. It also neutralizes free radicals that are detrimental to bone health.

Food sources of vitamin V include:

  • Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts

Vitamin K

Vitamin K stimulates the proteins that improve bone formation and bone mineral density. This vitamin comes as vitamins K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 is more important for bone health than K1. However, deficiencies of both K1 and K2 have a negative effect on bone health.

Food sources include:

  • Green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach
  • Vegetable oils
  • Cereal grains

Foods to avoid in osteoporosis

Besides knowing the best foods suitable for osteoporosis, you should also know the worst foods you should avoid and not include in your osteoporosis diet.


Sodium is the main constituent of table salt. It encourages the removal of calcium from the body, which is one of the main minerals required for bone health and strength.

Avoid taking that extra salt on your plate during meals. Please stay clear of salty snacks such as chips and crackers, as well as processed foods with salt added to them. Such processed foods include canned vegetables and soups.


Consuming up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is safe for healthy adults. That is the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, drinking more than three cups of caffeinated coffee or tea a day “may decrease calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss.”

Drinking caffeine can give positive and negative effects. It depends on the amount of caffeine you have consumed. Consuming too much caffeine (800 mg) can double the amount of calcium excreted in the urine and is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, especially in older people.

Cola-type sodas

Research suggests that carbonated sodas such as colas may contribute to bone loss. Scientists are still not clear exactly how soda may damage bones.

The possible cause could be that phosphorus, commonly present in sodas, may cause the bone to weaken over time. Some experts, however, feel that phosphorus in soft drinks isn’t likely to have much effect.

Sugary, caffeinated sodas don’t give you any nutrition and may harm your health. It is best to avoid them.

Red meat

Meat protein contains amino acids and high amounts of sulfur. To tackle this, the calcium from the bones is released into the bloodstream.

People with osteoporosis need to preserve all the calcium they have. You should, therefore, minimize your red meat intake and eat more nuts and beans.


According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, moderate intake of wine and beer is associated with increased bone density.

However, excessive alcohol intake causes bone loss. It is, therefore, important for your bone health that you keep your consumption of alcohol within safe limits.

Safe limits are defined as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, where one drink equals 60 ml.

Wheat bran

Wheat bran is very healthy and nutritious. It offers you protein, fiber, and antioxidants and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

However, the phytates in 100% wheat bran interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc available from other foods and supplements you may be eating at the same time. For instance, wheat bran cereal can reduce the absorption of calcium present in the milk, which you pour into the cereal.

Liver and fish liver oil

You should also avoid fish liver oil and retinol supplements, as these may raise the body’s vitamin A stores above the recommended level.

Studies indicate that excess vitamin A in the body may cause loss of bone mineral density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis.

To summarize:

Doctors highly recommend sticking to a healthy osteoporosis diet to encourage bone health, more so as you age and get older. The suggestions cover a well-balanced diet that can endorse overall health including the promotion of metabolic, heart, and intellectual health.

In addition to a healthy diet, you must make the most of bone-building by improving your lifestyle by including a regular exercise plan and good sleep in your daily routine.