Osteoporosis is a disease where increased bone weakness increases the risk of a broken bone. It is the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly. To increase bone mass, follow this osteoporosis diet and lifestyle plan which includes recommendations from Ayurveda.
Osteoporosis is more common in women.
Estrogen is a hormone in women that protects bones. It decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. That is why the chance of developing osteoporosis increases as women reach menopause.
Risk Factors For Osteoporosis
- Prolonged hormonal imbalances
- Excess use of certain medications, such as steroids
- Not enough calcium or vitamin D in the diet
- Lack of exercise
- Thin and small-boned body frame
- A history of fracture
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Caffeine or alcohol consumption.
Osteoporosis Diet And Lifestyle Plan From Ayurveda
Bone tissue (Asthidhatu) is the fifth tissue (dhatu) among seven tissues (dhatus) in Ayurveda. The increase and decrease of bone (Asthi) and Vata are inversely proportional to each other. That is, when Vata increases bone tissue (Asthidhatu) decreases and vice versa. Hence the causes which increase Vata will cause a decrease of bone tissue (Asthidhatu).
In Ayurveda osteoporosis can be correlated to bone loss (Asthikshaya) and bone porosity (Asthisaushirya).
Ayurvedic Management Of Osteoporosis
Avoid factors that aggravates bone loss (Asthikshyaya) like a Vata aggravating diet and routine (vatakara aharvihar) and excessive exercise (ativyayam).
Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid
Enjoy foods dominated by the sweet taste. Those include rice, black gram, milk, whey, buttermilk, butter, ghee and meat-based soups. Ghee infused with bitter tasting herbs produces ‘roughness’ (khara) properties which helps in increasing bone-mass (asthivridhi).
What To Avoid
Avoid an excess of the following… pungent, bitter and astringent tasting substances. Limit dry, cold, light and porous predominant substances.
Reduce alcohol (Madya), dry or dried meats (Shushka Mamsa) and dry vegetables (Shushka Shaka). Avoid excessive eating, fasting, heavy exercise, excessive sexual intercourse, sleeping during the day, awakening at night, suppression the natural urges of the body and smoking.
What You Can Do
You can build strong bones and prevent and manage symptoms of osteoporosis by following the below osteoporosis diet and lifestyle.
Some of the most important treatments for preventing osteoporosis include diet and exercise. Avoid smoking, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle. Consume an adequate number of calories as well as optimal amounts of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential in helping to maintain proper bone formation and density.
Premenopausal women should consume at least 1000 mg of calcium per day. Postmenopausal women should consume 1200 mg of calcium per day (total of diet plus supplements). Don’t take more than 2000 mg calcium per day due to the possibility of side effects.
The main dietary sources of calcium include milk and other dairy products, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, or hard cheese, and green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli. Almond milk is a rich source of calcium which is required for healthy bones.
Men over 70 years and postmenopausal women should consume 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day. In premenopausal women or in younger men with osteoporosis, 600 international units of vitamin D daily is required.
Milk supplemented with vitamin D is a primary dietary source of dietary vitamin D; it contains approximately 100 IU per cup. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for all those with osteoporosis whose intake of vitamin D is below 400 IU per day. Other best sources are fatty fish including salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines; milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat), soy milk, and yogurt; UV-treated mushrooms; and egg yolks.
Vitamin D helps the body in calcium absorption and augments bone health. When the body is exposed to sunlight, it converts cholesterol into vitamin D. So as mentioned previously try to receive 30 minutes of morning sunlight daily.
Protein supplements are recommended for those who have already had an osteoporotic fracture. Try incorporating high-quality soy foods like soybeans, tofu, tempeh, natto (fermented soybeans), soy nuts, soy flour, soy cheese, enriched and fortified soy milk, soy yogurt, and soy crisps into your diet a few times each week.
Imbalances of hormones result in bone loss. Soy products help in balancing the estrogen levels required for women suffering from osteoporosis. Enjoy moderate amounts of high-quality proteins including lean meats (turkey, chicken, lean beef, veal and pork tenderloin), seafood, egg whites, fat-free and low-fat milk, cheeses, yogurt, beans, legumes and peanut butter.
Fruits And Vegetables
Research shows that greater intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with greater bone mineral density and lower osteoporosis risk in middle-aged and elderly adults. As part of your osteoporosis diet and lifestyle plan, increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium, manganese, vitamin B complex, vitamins C, E, K and phytochemicals like carotenoids. They have an alkalizing effect and therefore have a beneficial influence on bone health.
Fruits include citrus fruit, apples, pears, peaches, pineapples, plums, bananas, grapes, lychee, longan, mangoes, persimmons, papaya, cantaloupes, watermelons, muskmelons and durian. Chaste tree berry is known to keep hormonal levels in balance.
Vegetables include fresh beans, dark green leafy vegetables, light green leafy vegetables, spinach, onion, garlic, turnips, eggplant, melon vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and starchy tubers like yams, potatoes and lotus root. Fresh corn, pickles, mushrooms and fungi are also included. Brussel sprouts provide vitamin K that protects the bones against osteoporosis.
Other Food Sources And Recommendations For Strengthening Bones
Pumpkin seeds, quinoa, millet, brown rice, whole wheat, Swiss chard, artichoke hearts, cashews, tempeh, sweet potatoes, beans, sesame seeds, flaxseed, and wheat germ. Sesame seeds provide 1,000 mg of natural calcium.
Tea: Dandelion tea increases bone density and is quite delicious.
Sleep: Get more sleep. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep to awaken refreshed.
A study published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that men and women over age 50 who habitually slept less than six hours a night had a substantially increased risk of osteoporosis.
Exercise: Exercise moderately. Exercise may decrease fracture risk by improving bone mass in premenopausal women and helping to maintain bone density in women after menopause. Most experts recommend exercising for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
Yoga: Practice yogasanas such as… single and double leg raises, side angle pose (Parsvakonasana), warrior pose II (Virabhadrasana II), wind relieving pose (Pavanamuktasana), cobra pose (Bhujangasana), seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana), eagle pose (Garudhasana), Locust Pose (Salabhasana), hero pose (Virasana), pose dedicated to the sage Marichi III (Marichyasana III), child’s pose (Balasana), corpse pose (Shavasana).
What To Avoid
Falls: Falling significantly increases the risk of osteoporotic fractures in older adults. Taking measures to prevent falls can decrease the risk of fractures.
Salty Foods: Eating foods that have a lot of salt (sodium) causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss. Try to limit the amount of processed foods, canned foods and salt added to the foods you eat each day. To know if a food is high in sodium, look at the Nutrition Facts label. If it lists 20% or more for the % Daily Value, it is high in sodium. Aim to get not more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively (more than three drinks a day) can increase the risk of fracture due to an increased risk of falling and poor nutrition. It should be avoided.
Smoking: Stopping smoking is strongly recommended for bone health because smoking cigarettes is known to speed bone loss. One study suggested that women who smoke one pack per day throughout adulthood have a 5 to 10 percent reduction in bone density by menopause, resulting in an increased risk of fracture.
Beneficial Herbs For Osteoporosis
The following herbs are useful in strengthening the bones, in fractures and in the Ayurvedic treatment of osteoporosis. Add them to your osteoporisis diet and lifestyle plan.
- Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Triphala, Gotu kola, Brahmi and Amalaki are some of the nourishing herbs recommended by Ayurveda for this condition, and to maintain good hormonal balance in the body. Take Ashwagandha with milk.
Research studies have also showed Tinospora (Guduchi), Indian ginseng (Ashwagandha), Pomegranate (dadima) have antiosteoporosis and phyto estrogenic properties which strengthen the bone.
Tinospora (Guduchi) shows estrogenic like effects on bone and thus has the potential for being used as an antiosteoporosis agent.
Indian ginseng (Ashwagandha) is considered a rejuvenator in Ayurveda. It helps in relieving the pains associated with osteoporosis and is also useful in cases of general debility, nervous exhaustion and muscle pains. Ashwagandha is
useful in debilitating conditions (kshyayavastha) by its property of improving strength and immunity (Balya) and being adaptogenic. Thus it is beneficial in Asthikshaya (bone loss).
Wild asparagus (Shatavari)… A study carried out on its aqueous and methanolic extracts of the root showed its significant effect on mineralization, ossification and osteoclastic activity suppression on bone in histopathological examination.
Arjun tree (Terminalia arjuna) is extensively used for the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone related disorders as it improves the synthesis and secretion of female hormones.
Herbs such as Horsetail (Equisetumarvense), oat straw (Avena sativa) and Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) are used for the long term treatment of osteoporosis.
Western herbs that boost the hormonal system are motherwort, milk thistle, ginger, sage, raspberry leaves, valerian, horsetail, nettles, ginseng, Siberian ginseng, hawthorn berries and dandelion root.
Herbs beneficial for treating bone weakness (osteoporosis) and support healing of fractures are oat straw, Indian Gooseberry (amalaki) and comfrey.
Oat straw balances Vata and Pitta and is effective in stimulation of bone growth. Indian Gooseberry or Amla is an outstanding general tonic for the body traditionally used for augmenting bone development. False Daisy (Bhringaraj) is an herb used for both tonification of the bones and purification. Comfrey heals the bones following fracture. It is cooling and moist and balances Vata and Pitta doshas.
Ayurvedic Cleansing (Panchakarma) For Osteoporosis
According to Ayurveda, medicated enema treatment (Basti Chikitsa) is one of the best purification treatments (shodhana chikitsa) of Vata dosha. Basti acts on the bone (Asthivaha) and bone marrow channels (Majjavahasrotas). Medicated milk enema (Ksheerabasti) infused with herbs bitter in taste (Tikta rasa pradhan) is traditionally used by Ayurvedic practitioners in India. It is a very useful and effective management for bone disorders (Asthivikaraas).
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