New Year's Day has come and gone. For those with osteoporosis a good resolution would be to stop its progression or even reverse it. For those in their 20s and 30s a good resolution would be to prevent it from developing in the first place. With a diet of high potassium foods, bones will be stronger.
Although bone density is affected by many factors, one of the most important for Americans today is the potassium and sodium in the diet. Very few of us get the advised amount of potassium daily, and almost all of us get too much sodium. Over 95% of men and 75% of women in America consume more than the upper limit suggested for sodium. Most of us get less than half the recommended potassium.
Sodium and potassium are important because they counterbalance each other. If we consume too much sodium (from salt, often hidden in processed food), it must be eliminated. It is passed out in the urine. Sodium is important in osteoporosis because calcium always accompanies sodium in the urine. If a lot of sodium is consumed, it must be eliminated in the urine and a lot of calcium is eliminated with it.
Potassium counters the sodium effect on calcium and helps preserve it. It does this by affecting a hormone acting on the kidney in the opposite way that sodium does. It tells the hormone to tell the kidney to stop eliminating so much sodium and thus the calcium is not eliminated either.
Unlike blood pressure, a change in bone density is not seen in two weeks. But if your doctor checks your urine for calcium, within a month of being on a high potassium diet you should see less calcium being lost in the urine if your osteoporosis is from too much sodium and not enough potassium in your diet. If you have this kind of improvement, a diet of high potassium foods will help your osteoporosis.
The high potassium diet consists of getting more than 4700 mg of potassium and less than 1500 mg of sodium a day. It consists of many high potassium vegetables and fruits, nuts, some dairy and some meat from beef, poultry, or fish. Because so much of the fat Americans consume is saturated, the dairy should be low fat or non-fat, and the beef and poultry should be lean.
Adding certain spices, dried fruit, and flavors such as Dutched cocoa, as well as small amounts of molasses or sorghum syrup can add variety while boosting your potassium intake.