Eating for Ankylosing Spondylitis: Foods That Can Help Support Strong Bones

There’s no proven diet to treat ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a painful, inflammatory condition that causes arthritis in your spine and joints. Still, some foods may help support bone health and reduce inflammation. Eating healthy also helps you maintain a healthy weight to minimize pressure on your bones.

Foods for healthy bones

Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to thinning bones and bones that fracture easily. As many as half of all people with AS have osteoporosis, putting them at risk of spinal fracture.

Around 99 percent of the calcium you eat is stored in your bones and teeth. Eating more foods that contain calcium, the main mineral that makes bones strong, may help limit your osteoporosis risk.

Some foods high in calcium are:

  • low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • sardines
  • canned salmon
  • calcium-fortified cereals and pasta
  • calcium-fortified orange juice
  • calcium-fortified tofu
  • leafy green vegetables such as kale, turnip greens, and broccoli

For healthy bones, eating foods high in calcium isn’t enough. You also need vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium. Sunlight is a good source. It’s tricky though to get enough vitamin D through diet alone. Some foods with vitamin D are egg yolks, oily fish, and vitamin D-fortified cereals or milk.

Magnesium is an often-overlooked mineral for bone strength. According to research, magnesium deficiency may lead to thin or brittle bones and osteoporosis. Even so, it’s important to keep magnesium levels steady, as too much has been shown to weaken bones.

To get enough magnesium in your diet, eat:

  • shredded wheat
  • black beans
  • avocado
  • whole wheat bread
  • raisins
  • bananas
  • oatmeal
  • brown rice

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