The 10 Foods Men Need For Bone Health

When was the last time you thought about your bone health? Unfortunately, many men don’t think about it until it’s too late; that is, they have fallen or had an accident and experienced a fracture. But bone health is something all men should consider on a daily basis, especially as they get older; and one great way to take care of your bones is with the right foods.

Why Worry About Bone Health?

Why should men worry about their bone health? According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, up to 25 percent of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. If you thought this bone-thinning disease affected only women, think again.

In fact, about 2 million men in America already have osteoporosis, and an estimated 12 million more are at risk for the disease. You should also know that more men older than 50 are likely to experience a broken bone associated with osteoporosis than are likely to get prostate cancer. [1]

Nutrients For Bone Health

Which nutrients immediately come to mind when you think of bone health? If you said calcium and vitamin D, you’re on target. In fact, this mineral and vitamin have a unique working relationship that helps ensure bones are strong. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium from the gut; so if you are short on this vitamin, the result can be low calcium levels and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

However, it’s important to note that too much calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer, as may eating lots of dairy foods. [2] Therefore, remember that the recommended calcium intake for men is 1,000 mg daily, and remember to include non-dairy foods rich in calcium in your diet. (Hint: There are tips below!)

How about vitamin D? The best source of the sunshine vitamin comes naturally, but many men fall short of the recommended 600 International Units (IU) daily because they don’t get sufficient exposure to sunlight on a consistent basis. Therefore, it’s important to include vitamin D-rich foods and consider supplements for men’s health if sunlight and foods don’t help you reach your daily vitamin D goal. Among other nutrients important for bone health are magnesium (420 mg daily) and potassium (4,700 mg daily).

Eating For Bone Health At Every Meal

Here are eight food suggestions [3] for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks — two suggestions for each occasion — that will support and enhance bone health. (I also included two additional bone-supporting food ingredients.) When shopping, be sure to read labels carefully for nutritional content. Different brands have various amounts of nutrients, and manufacturers may even change nutritional content over time.

Breakfast

  • Cereals fortified with calcium and/or vitamin D: Readily available in supermarkets; and it’s now possible to get 100 percent of your calcium requirement in just one serving of fortified cereal. One example is Whole Grain Total (1,000 mg calcium in 3/4 cup dried cereal). Instant oatmeal is another breakfast cereal that provides calcium (187 mg per cup, cooked). Hint: Use fortified orange juice instead of milk on your cereal.
  • Fortified orange juice: Depending on the brand of fortified orange juice you buy, you can get a significant amount of both calcium and vitamin D in just 8 ounces of orange juice. One brand, for example, provides 500 mg calcium, 142 IU vitamin D and 473 mg potassium.

Lunch

  • Sardines in oil (drained) with bones: One can (3.75 oz) provides 250 IU vitamin D, 351 mg calcium, 365 mg potassium and 35.9 mg magnesium.
  • Tempeh: Just 4 ounces of this type of fermented soy and grain product can provide 108 mg calcium, 448 mg potassium and 87 mg magnesium. For a touch of added vitamin D, toss in 1 cup of stir-fried white mushrooms for 13 IU of the sunshine vitamin.

Dinner

  • Cooked spinach: Just 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 245 mg calcium, 157 mg magnesium and 839 mg potassium. If you drizzle the spinach with olive oil, you’ll be getting additional bone-strengthening value. According to a new study conducted in elderly men, those who consumed a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil for two years had an increased level of osteocalcin in their blood. Osteocalcin is a known indicator of healthy bone. [4]
  • Baked sweet potato: One large baked sweet potato, with skin, contains 1,600 mg potassium, 83.7 mg magnesium and 44.8 mg calcium. Break open the potato, stuff it with the cooked spinach, add a little olive oil and you have a great bone health combination.

Snacks

  • Almonds: One ounce of dry roasted almonds contains 74.5 mg calcium and 80.1 mg magnesium.
  • Bananas: One medium banana provides 422 mg potassium and 31.9 mg magnesium.

Don’t neglect your bones. Be sure to enhance your bone health every day with food choices that provide bone-supporting nutrients. If you need to boost your intake of vitamin D, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the best supplement for your needs.

For more men’s health tips, visit Prostate.net.

Sources

[1] National Osteoporosis Foundation: http://www.nof.org/articles/236

[2] Calcium and prostate cancer risk: http://www.harvardprostateknowledge.org/calcium-and-prostate-cancer-risk

[3] Nutritiondata.self: http://nutritiondata.self.com/

[4] A Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil is associated with higher serum total osteocalcin levels in elderly men at high cardiovascular risk.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855341

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Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.