What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones in various ways including loss of calcium and other minerals, resulting in your bones becoming fragile and fracture more easily. As people age, bones naturally become less dense, causing osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis affects one in two Australian woman and one in three Australian men over the age of 60, however it can still be found in children. It is rare, but when it does occur it is usually caused by an underlying medical disorder or by medications used to treat the disorder, this is called secondary osteoporosis. Sometimes there is no identifiable cause of osteoporosis in a child and this is known as idiopathic osteoporosis.
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Why do I have osteoporosis?

Certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of osteoporosis, including:

  • Low intake of foods high in calcium
  • Inactivity (not undertaking regular exercise)
  • Limited time in the sunlight, therefore reduced levels of vitamin D
  • Extreme dieting; which may intefere with nurtisious foods and can result in low body weight
  • Smoking
  • High alcohol intake
  • Age (this is the most common cause because older you get, the more bone loss you are likely to have)

Signs and Symptoms

Many people don't realise they have osteoporosis until they get an obvious sign, such as bone fracture. Some other signs for osteoporosis includes:

  • Back pain
  • Stooped posture
  • Loss of height over time
  • Bone fracture

How can I prevent osteoporosis?

STEP 1: Exercise

Exercise is an important step in the prevention of osteoporosis. Exercise increases the size, strength and capacity of our muscles. However it must be regular and ongoing for a proper benefit. It is important to exercise all throughout your life and some exercises for bone strength include weight bearing exercises and progressive resistance training.

To get the most out of the exercise you do it must:

  • Be regular
  • Progress over time
  • Be varied
  • Be performed in short, intensive bursts

People who are more elderly might benefit more in balance and mobility exercises, which can help reduce falls. It is estimated that around 6% of falls result in a fracture, so an important part of bone health is preventing falls.

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STEP 2: Eat the right food

Calcium isn't the only thing you need for strong bones. You also need to eat food that is low in sugar (contains less than 140mg/serving), sodium (contains less than 10g/serving), caffeine, alcohol and rich in bone building materials. These include:

  • Calcium- Calcium rich foods have a big role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Dairy foods contain at least 10 essential nutrients including protein, carbohydrate and vitamins (A, B12 and riboflavin).
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Eating foods rich in B vitamins (Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12) is also important because they reduce homocysteine- an inflammatory factor associated with thinning bones.

Here are some excellent recipes to start you off:

Turkey Quiche:

Serves 6


  • Backing sheet
  • 2 cups/500mL shredded Swiss
  • 1 cup/250mL chopped, cooked turkey
  • 1 tbsp/15mL finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp/15mL finely chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp/15mL finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp/15mL all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp/2mL salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup/250mL half-and-half (10%) cream
  • 1unbaked pie shell (9-inch/23 cm)
  • 1 tbsp/15mL grated Parmesan cheese


1.Preheat oven to 190°C

2. In a medium bowl, toss together Swiss cheese, turkey, onion, celery, parsley, flour and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs lightly; gradually stir in cream. Add cheese and turkey mixture; stir to combine. Pour into pie shell and place shell on baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

TIP: This dish also tastes great made with chicken.

Find more about this recipe at:


Black Bean Burgers

Cooking and preperation time: 30 min


  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Olivado Avocado Oil
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 Tbsps flax seed, ground
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • Method

    1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C, and lightly oil a baking sheet. Prepare oven.
    2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. Mix finely chopped bell pepper, onion, and garlic into mashed beans.
    3. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder and cumin. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in flax seed until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
    4. Divide mixture into four patties.
    5. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
    6. Serve.

Find more about this recipe at:


STEP 3: Soak in the sun!

Doing exercise and eating the right food are important steps in the prevention of osteoporosis, but optimising your vitamin D levels is equally important. In Australia, from October to March, we should be getting 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure of the face, arms and hands before 10am or after 3pm, 3 to 4 times per week. This will give you enough Vitamin D without skin damage.