With age, people have to face many problems, including those that are bone related. This is especially true in women who are menopausal or post-menopausal. The number one thing to do is to learn how to prevent osteoporosis by eating the best foods for strong bones. This is of the essence because it is the bones that support and move you about. Never take them for granted. Below are tips on how to reduce the risk of having bone density problems…
Science proves that by the time we reach 25 years of age, bone loss begins because we lose more tissue than we build. If you develop osteoporosis, the bones will become frail and brittle, leading to easy breaking and fracturing. We must consider the skeleton as tissue that needs replenishing on a constant basis, and that replenishment comes from a nutritious diet.
A nutritious diet starts with whole foods that are fresh, not packaged and prepared with all kinds of unhealthy preservatives and other unknown ingredients. According to Dr. Jeri Nieves who is affiliated with the NOF, or National Osteoporosis Foundation, the following recommendations are made:
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and many servings of them. Make sure that veggies are not overcooked as much of their vitamins will be lost in the cooking process. Buy organic produce when possible and eat the peel as well. There are many nutrients in them that are often discarded by most. Studies prove that a diet high in fruit and vegetable intake provides for healthier bones, although they don’t understand why that is exactly. Some of the research points to them helping to reduce calcium loss. Remember to choose produce of varying types and colors to get the full benefits of different vitamins and minerals.
- Eat different types of foods that contain calcium because it is withdrawn from within the the bones if you are lacking calcium in your diet. To avoid weight gain and cholesterol problems, choose low-fat dairy products which come in all forms, from milk to yogurt to cheese. Although most people choose dairy products to supply calcium, there are other sources like sardines (but the soft bones must be eaten) or broccoli, spinach, and nuts, to name but a few. That said, it is also important to mention the importance of Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Naturally, Vitamin D occurs in sunlight, but there are also fortified drinks like milk, juices, and the like. Under 50 years of age, one needs 1,000 mg of calcium, which should come from food sources and supplements. 1,200 mg of calcium is required for individuals over 50. This can be achieved by eating foods that are calcium fortified, like orange juice, milk, and other dairy products. Reach for healthy snacks of raw broccoli, a glass of milk, a smoothie or yogurt.
- Protein is very important as well, however it must come from lean sources. Avoid red meats as much as possible, such as eating them only once a week. Choose white meat instead and ensure it is cooked in the best way. Protein helps in producing collagen fibers which are necessary for the bones. A diet low in protein has proven to negatively impact the bones, causing rapid bone loss which leads to breaks and fractures.
- Exercise! Each day, the individual must get at least half an hour of exercise. This is easy to do, such as going for a long brisk walk after supper or at lunch time. Leave the car at home and walk to the grocery store, etc. Cycling is also a good idea. Building strength will keep bones safer and stronger. Also, try balancing exercises which could help you later on in life, possibly reducing the risk of falls. Low impact aerobics include exercise bikes, elliptical machines, and walking. Muscle strengthening can come from doing push ups, squats, lunges, and light free weights. One can also use resistance bands instead of the free weights.
- Supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals, aside from all the good foods on the menu. This will ensure that all the minimum RDA is met. For anything above those recommended dosages, speak to your doctor. Anti-aging advocates recommend that the dosages are higher than what is printed on labels, which is simply a way to avoid deficiency of any vitamin or mineral. However, higher doses of certain ones can fend off diseases and fight premature aging.
- Salt or sodium is another no-no which could be affecting the condition of bones. There is a lot of sodium in foods, apart from the small amount that we put on it from the salt shaker. Most of it comes from prepared foods where it is used to add more flavor, but also serves as a preservative. What to avoid? Prepackaged foods, deli meats, condiments, frozen foods, and the like. Also, canned foods contain a surprising amount of sodium, so these too should be limited.
If you give your body what it really needs, and avoid anything possible that could be harming it, it will reward you for many years, minimizing health problems and increasing the chances of being independent for longer. Life in our golden years should be pleasant, a chance to sit back and relax, enjoying everything we couldn’t when we took our youth for granted. Shouldn’t it be the best time? Unfortunately, anyone who didn’t care for themselves enough would not be able to do so because of the possibility of weakened bones due to osteoporosis.