Many people in America today, especially women and older adults, are suffering from osteoporosis. Sadly, many of them do not even know that they have this disease. By the time someone finds out that they have developed osteoporosis, it usually is too late. A fall may have already occurred, resulting in a broken hip; with that said, diet is a large factor in the development of osteoporosis. It is safe to say that a healthy, well-balanced diet should be a part of every person’s daily life, because diet is essential in keeping our bodies in prime condition. The following macronutrients, minerals and lifestyle choices are exactly what you need to prevent osteoporosis and live a healthy life!
Calcium deficiency is one of the top reasons people suffer from osteoporosis. Our bodies don’t make calcium on their own, so we must rely on a diet that is rich with this nutrient. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, frozen desserts, leafy green vegetables, sardines, tofu, almonds, calcium-fortified orange juice and cereals.
Protein is the next most important factor in bone health. When your diet is protein-restricted, it reduces growth hormone. It also affects calcium absorption, which is imperative for bone strength. Animal protein is not the idea type of protein for the body; as it has been shown to contribute to hip fractures, more so than a non animal protein source like soy. Therefore, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and vegetables are a wiser choice.
3. Vitamin D
For the body to absorb calcium properly, Vitamin D must be present; this key nutrient is essential in bone loss prevention. Being exposed directly to sunlight for fifteen minutes a day proves very beneficial in helping to meet the daily requirement. In colder climates, however, vitamin D supplements are very important; especially for those over 50 years old, who are often deficient in this vitamin. The best source of vitamin D is milk, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver.
4. Other Nutrients
As we can see, a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of nutrition-dense foods is good for the body. The other nutrients essential for our bones are magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fluoride, vitamin A and C.
But it isn’t just about the food we eat; there’s more to the equation than just food- so don’t forget these bonus lifestyle factors!
We know that exercise does a body. Weight-bearing exercises are the best for bone strengthening, and should be done on average about 3 days a week. This serves to build one to three percent more bone mass, which goes a long way; it will also strengthen joints and connective tissues!
2. Avoid the Obvious Culprits
One of the worst things one can do for bone strength is smoke cigarettes- this is a major cause of loss in bone density. Bone fractures are more prevalent in smokers than in non-smokers, and the healing time of a fracture for someone who smokes is longer than a non-smoker. And if you needed one more reason to butt out, smoking will also cause the body to ineffectively absorb calcium. Alcohol should also be limited too, especially for women. Like cigarettes, alcohol is associated with bone density loss; and decreased calcium absorption.
3. Lastly, Don’t Forget!
Having regular bone density tests is a great way to prevent osteoporosis from developing; if there is chance that your bones are starting to deteriorate due to age and/or bad diet, getting them checked is the first step to getting strength back.