Osteoporosis affects millions of people over the age of 50, and results in bones that are brittle or porous and more likely to break. It is important to treat osteoporosis as early as possible, and going on a diet specifically designed to maintain or build bone density can help prevent the disease in the first place or can prevent it from progressing.

The benefits of an osteoporosis diet are increased bone density and strength. Often the two most important components of a diet that can prevent or treat osteoporosis are vitamin D and calcium. Proper intake of calcium helps stimulate bone growth in teenagers and helps protect reserves of this mineral later in adult life. Proper intake of vitamin D helps the body to absorb any calcium it consumes, either in food or supplement form. In addition to improving the health of bones, adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D helps to prevent certain forms of cancer. Research has also suggested that adequate intake of vitamin D can help prevent the development of multiple sclerosis and can also enhance the functioning of the immune system.

There may be some disadvantages of an osteoporosis diet, as well. Because so many people associate dairy foods with calcium, those wanting to prevent or treat osteoporosis might consume too many dairy foods, such as cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, and or even ice cream. In moderation these foods are not harmful, but when they are seen as the primary source of calcium to the detriment of all other sources, this behavior can be problematic.

The reason is that many dairy foods are high in fat and cholesterol and can have an adverse effect on heart health if they are consumed in excess. It is better for the individual who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis to eat more plant derived sources of calcium. It may be that more of these foods need to be consumed to get the same amount of calcium as dairy products, but many of these foods have added benefits in addition to calcium without causing problems for the cardiovascular system. These foods include spinach, almonds, figs, kale, broccoli, and seaweed. All of these foods contain antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that promote all-over well-being. To top up calcium levels, low-fat yogurt can be consumed as well, because it will not have the same detrimental effect on the heart that eating a lot of fattening dairy products will.