Enhance Your Osteoporosis Treatment With These Lifestyle Changes

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor has likely recommended prescription medications to help enhance your bone density and prevent fractures. But while these medications can be quite effective, popping pills is not the only way to treat osteoporosis. You'll also want to make some lifestyle changes to enhance the effects of your treatment and further protect your bones. Here are a few changes to get started with.

Eat more leafy greens.

It's no secret that leafy greens are good for you, but did you know that they are very high in calcium, which can help improve your bone density? Most people do not get nearly enough leafy greens in your diet, but as someone with osteoporosis, you really want to focus on increasing your intake of these healthy foods.

Some of the best leafy greens to consume, when trying to boost your calcium intake, are spinach, kale, and collard greens. Collards are delicious when cooked down with a little bacon or sausage, and spinach is easy to add to soups and salads. Kale needs to be chopped finely in order to be chewed easily, but once you get used to its coarse texture, it can quite satisfying. Eat it steamed if you just can't manage eating it raw.

Incorporate some fish.

Fish is another important food to include in your diet. Most fish is high in vitamin D, a nutrient that your body needs to properly absorb and utilize calcium. Many people do not get enough vitamin D, especially in the winter, since your body relies on sunlight in order to manufacture this vitamin. Thankfully, eating fish two or three times a week can really boost your vitamin D levels and keep osteoporosis from worsening.

Salmon is one of the best fish to choose for vitamin D intake. Just one four-ounce serving contains 127% of your daily value of vitamin D! It's also a good source of phosphorus, which is another mineral your bones need for continued health. If you get tired of salmon, other worthy choices include tuna and mackerel.

Stop drinking alcohol.

If you're a moderate or heavy drinker, this is your wake-up call: it's time to quit. Alcohol has a number of negative effects on the body, one of which is weakening of the bones. It can stop you from absorbing calcium from your food, and it also affects the liver's ability to activate vitamin D, which is a vital part of the calcium-absorption process.

If you have a hard time kicking the drinking habit, try to find a non-alcoholic beverage that you really enjoy, like sparkling water or apple cider. Enjoy a glass whenever your friends are drinking and you're tempted to reach for a beverage. If you're really struggling to quit, you may want to consider attending AA meetings or a similar support group.

Stop smoking.

If you're a smoker, this is another habit that you need to break! Smoking can make osteoporosis a lot worse by leeching calcium from your bones. Try using nicotine gum or nicotine patches to help curb your cravings as you wean yourself off of cigarettes. If you have tried quitting before and have failed, talk to your doctor about prescription medications that may help ease cravings and increase your chances of success.

If you incorporate the lifestyle changes above in addition to taking your medications, you'll have a much greater chance at continued bone health. Talk to your physician to learn more about the healthiest calcium and vitamin D-rich foods to include in your diet, or about other changes you can make to promote healthier bones. 

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