Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and break easily, leading to an increased risk of fracture. Osteoporosis affects more than 25 million people globally. The risk of falling increases with age, as the proportion of people with osteoporosis rises from 5% in those aged 50-59 to 22% in those aged 80 and over. Osteoporotic fractures cause substantial morbidity and mortality. Hip fractures, for example, increase the risk of death by 20% compared to people without hip fractures.
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of fracture. These measures include a vegetarian diet, taking calcium supplements, and weight-bearing exercise. In light of this, a number of researchers have investigated the link between a vegetarian diet and the prevention of osteoporosis. Are vegans, who typically follow a vegan diet, also protected against osteoporosis? Does an entire plant-based diet provide additional health benefits, or is it specific to certain food groups? What types of vegetables should we be consuming for maximum health benefits?
The Impact Of A Vegan Diet On Osteoporosis
There is a wealth of evidence that a vegetarian diet can be extremely beneficial to human health. In light of this, it is no surprise that people who opt for a vegetarian diet for health reasons are at a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Several studies have shown that a vegan diet can help to increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Here are the reasons why a vegan diet might be better suited to preventing osteoporosis than an omnivorous diet:
The calcium content in animal products is high, which provides the body with an essential mineral that is necessary for the formation and function of bones. The evidence suggests that a vegan diet may be better at supplying the body with calcium than an omnivorous diet. In one study, for example, researchers observed that subjects who consumed a vegan diet had higher bone mineral density, suggesting that this diet might be better suited to preventing osteoporosis than an omnivorous diet.
Phosphorus is another essential nutrient for good bone health. The human body does not store phosphorus, so it is essential that we get it from the foods that we eat. Animal products are a rich source of phosphorus, which in turn provides the body with a steady supply of this mineral. A vegan diet may therefore be better at supplying the body with phosphorus than an omnivorous diet.
Magnesium is yet another important mineral for bone health. Like phosphorus, the human body does not store much magnesium, so we need to get it daily from our food sources. Like calcium, magnesium is often found in large amounts in animal products and these products provide the human body with a steady supply of magnesium. A vegan diet is therefore a better source of magnesium than an omnivorous diet.
Less Stress On The Environment
An important factor to consider when seeking to reduce our environmental footprint is how we are affecting the world around us. One way in which a vegan diet helps to reduce our environmental impact is by reducing the number of animals that are being farmed for food. Animals raised for food tend to be given growth hormones and antibiotics to encourage them to produce more. The production of meat and dairy causes environmental problems because of the sheer volume of animals that are being raised for food. By opting for a vegan diet, we can reduce our ecological footprint and have less of an effect on the environment.
Plant-Based Food For Maximal Health Benefits
In light of the above, it makes sense to seek out plant-based food for the sake of our health. One of the more popular options amongst people who adopt a vegan diet for health reasons is the purchase of plant-based food that is specifically marketed as high-bone-density food. Are there any specific vegetables or food groups that help to prevent osteoporosis? What other food items might we opt to consume that are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium?