Eating Fruits Also Can Prevent Osteoporosis?
Yes! You didn't hear it wrong. Nutrients in fruits can help to increase bone mass and prevent or slow down the progression of osteoporosis. The first thing comes to our mind when think of bone health is probably milk. This is because we are educated since we are young to drink more milk to grow taller and to achieve stronger bone and teeth. We know that milk contains abundant of calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and other trace minerals which are beneficial for our bone. However, the nutrients in fruits also play a vital part in promoting higher bone mineral density.
Osteoporosis is define as weaken bone due to lower bone mass and strength. Osteoporosis is called a "silent disease" because it does not show any early symptoms until a bone breaks. Osteoporosis increases the risk for bone fracture, especially in hip, wrist and spine. Up until the age of 30, you normally build more bone than you lose. After age 35, bone breakdown occurs faster than bone buildup. Although osteoporosis can strike at any age, it is most common in older people especially older women after menopause. Nowadays getting more calcium from our diet and supplements is very common. Besides taking dairy products and calcium supplements, eating fruits also can help to strengthen bone and prevent osteoporosis.
About 99% of calcium is stored in bones and the remaining 1% is found in blood, muscle and other tissues. Meanwhile 85% of our body's phosphorus is found in bone mineral. Research shows that calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone strengthening benefits. Study shows that citric acid supplementation together with calcium rich diet increases retention of calcium and phosphorus in bones. A study involved postmenopausal women in osteoporosis prevention intervention, it shows that calcium supplementation in a lemon beverage contains citric acid suppressed bone resorption by the chelating action of citric acid along with acceleration of calcium resorption. Bone resorption is a process where osteoclasts break down the bone tissues and release minerals, resulting loss of calcium and other minerals from bones to blood. Food that contain high level of citric acid are citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Eating citrus fruits or drinking their juices while taking calcium supplements may provides additional bone boosting benefits.
Vitamin C is important for healthy gum and bones. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, the foundation that bone mineralization is built on. Researchers reviewed total of 66 studies between 2000 and 2020 related to Vitamin C, antioxidants, bone growth and resorption, osteoporosis and bone loss. Study shows that increased Vitamin C has greater bone density. This is likely because Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and it is involved in the function and maintenance of several cells in the body. Fruits high in Vitamin C are citrus fruits, guava, kiwi, orange and berries.
Carotenoids, which are a provitamin A, may have an anabolic effect on bone metabolism. Bone homeostasis is maintained through a balance between osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption. Study shows that carotenoids has a stimulatory effect on bone calcification. Carotenoids regulate the gene expression of various proteins that are related to bone metabolism. It has stimulatory effects on osteoblastic bone formation and inhibitory effects on osteoclastic bone resorption, thereby increasing bone mineral density. Fruits rich in carotenoids are those with bright yellow to orange or red colors such as watermelon, papaya, mango and tomato.
The benefits of potassium on bone health is through its effect on acid-base balance. Diet high in red meats and cereal grains produce a low-grade metabolic acidosis. In order to maintain this acid-base balance, calcium are released from bones to neutralize the excess acid. The continual release of calcium from bones will result in lower bone mass and cause weakened bone. The alkaline potassium salt is though to prevent bone resorption for pH homeostasis. By increasing intake of potassium, it may reduces calcium loss and creates a more positive calcium balance and inhibiting bone resorption. A study shows that daily potassium intake was significantly related to a decreased risk of osteoporosis at the lumbar spine in postmenopausal women. Fruits high in potassium include banana, cantaloupe, avocado, apricot and kiwi.