NIH Features New Report on Good Nutrition for Healthy Bones

Good Nutrition for Healthy Bones - Publication by the International Osteoporosis FoundationThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Monday that it has posted a new report on Good Nutrition for Healthy Bones issued by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, on the NIH’s medical resource site.

The report is posted and featured as “New” on the NIH’s MedlinePlus resource site on Osteoporosis (under Nutrition).

It can also be downloaded here as a PDF document (12 pages), or from the International Osteoporosis Foundation website.

Content – Recommendations

Good Nutrition for Healthy Bones explains the types of nutrients that are especially helpful to maintain bone strength and prevent Osteoporosis, and provides specific recommended daily allowances for children and adults by age group. It also contains charts showing the foods rich in each of these nutrients, and the extent of the recommended nutrients found in a stated helping of each food.

The nutrients particularly recommended include:

  • Calcium — Found in milk and other dairy products; green vegetables, like broccoli, curly kale, and bok choy; canned fish with soft, edible bones (the calcium’s in the bones!) such as sardines, pilchards and salmon; nuts – especially Brazil nuts and almonds; some fruits such as oranges, apricots and dried figs; and calcium-set tofu.
  • Vitamin D –- Made by the sun to keep bones strong. Also found in some foods, including oily (or fatty) fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel; egg yolk; and liver.
  • Protein — Found in lean red meat, poultry and fish, as well as eggs and dairy foods, as sources of animal protein. “Good vegetable sources of protein include legumes (e.g. lentils, kidney beans), soya products (e.g. tofu), grains, nuts and seeds,” the report states.
  • Fruits and Vegetables — “Fruits and vegetables contain a whole array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and alkaline salts, some or all of which can have a beneficial effect on bone,” the report states. “Studies have shown that higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with beneficial effects on bone density in elderly men and women, although the exact components which may give this benefit are still to be clarified.”
  • Other Vitamins & Minerals — Including Vitamin K, Magnesium, Zinc, B Vitamins, Vitamin A. These are recommended in moderation, with some cautionary warnings stated in the report.

The report provides more detail on the recommended daily allowances of each of these nutrients, and the extent of each of them provided in the recommended foods.

Here is a summary of ” Key Tips for building and maintaining healthy bones” found in the report:

  • “Ensure an adequate calcium intake which meets the relevant dietary recommendations in the country or region concerned, at all stages of your life.
  • Maintain a sufficient supply of vitamin D through adequate, safe exposure to the sun, through diet, or through supplements. Enjoy a balanced, nutritious diet including adequate protein, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for both bone and general health benefits.
  • Safeguard a healthy body weight, as being underweight is a strong risk factor for osteoporosis (body mass index less than 18.5 kg/m2).
  • Move it or lose it: Weight bearing exercise (e.g. walking, running, gym, strength training, dancing) helps build bone mass and strength in the young, maintains bone density in adults, and slows down bone loss in the elderly.
  • Avoid smoking as it hampers the work of bone-building cells and increases the risk of fracture.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as high intakes (more than 2 standard units per day) have been linked to increased risk of hip and other osteoporotic fractures.
  • Use salt and caffeine in moderation, as these can promote calcium loss from the body, especially if calcium intake is inadequate.
  • Assess your risk: If you are concerned you may be at risk of osteoporosis, fill out the “IOF One-Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test” found on the IOF website at, and if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, talk to your doctor about whether you need to undergo further testing.”

View the report » Good Nutrition for Healthy Bones (12 page PDF document).

More Information on Osteoporosis

The International Osteoporosis Foundation states in the report that on its website (under “Data & Publications”), “you will also discover a variety of publications to download, including “Osteoporosis and you”, which discusses the implications of osteoporosis, the importance of early diagnosis, lifestyle aspects and the various treatment options available. A more detailed booklet on nutrition entitled “Bone Appétit” is also available.”

See also Know and reduce your risk of osteoporosis by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

The NIH’s MedlinePlus site on Osteoporosis also flags as New, a report on Osteoporosis – Unique to Older Adults, found on the website Health in Aging, maintained by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging (FHA), a non-profit foundation.

See also the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Arthritis, Osteoporosis & Rheumatic Conditions, including:


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