Building Strong Bones to Fight Osteoporosis

The foods that you eat can have a significant impact on your health. Most chronic illnesses can even be managed with a proper diet – think diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.


Osteoporosis is another chronic illness that diet and exercise can have a signifiant impact on. Every October 20th, World Osteoporosis Dayis observed to raise awareness for this bone disease. Osteoporosis, meaning brittle bone, can occur when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. This will cause spaces in the bone, resulting in a less dense bone that is prone to breaking.


Osteoporosis and low bone density affects 54 million Americans. Women are more likely than men to develop the disease. Fortunately there are things than can be done to decrease your risk for developing osteoporosis!


Strengthen Your Bones


Whether you are “at risk” or “healthy”, it’s always a good time to start taking care of your bone health! There are many steps everyone can take to have healthy, strong bones. It starts with eating a diet rich in the following nutrients:


  • Calcium. About 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth. Sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, and canned sardines and salmon.
  • Vitamin D aids in calcium’s absorption from your intestine. It also plays a role in maintaining calcium in your bones.  Sources include fortified dairy products and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.
  • Magnesium aids in the proper regulation of both calcium and vitamin D.  Sources include dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains and avocado.
  • Vitamin K is mostly known for its effect on blood clotting, but it also plays a role in your bone.  It aids in binding calcium into bone and the formation of osteocalcin, which is a hormone produced by osteoblasts that is used in the bone matrix. Sources include dark green leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, meats, eggs and fish.


Time to Make Changes


It’s never too late to make changes! Start by making the following 4 changes to your life, your bones will thank you!


1. Limit your alcohol intake and cease smoking. Drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day for women and more than 3 drinks per day for men has been associated with an increased risk for bone density loss. Smoking and tobacco products also put a person at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis.


2. Exercise regularly. There are different exercises that can be done to strengthen the bones and muscles, both weight and non-weight bearing. Going for walks or swimming are encouraged, however you should consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.


3. Eat a varied, nutritious diet. There are plenty of nutrients that keep your bones healthy, some were listed above, but there are even more! The best way to ensure you are getting all of your necessary nutrients is by eating a varied diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, legumes, fish and lean meats!


4. Go to the doctor for a bone density test. If you suspect that you are at risk for developing osteoporosis, than it is recommended you schedule a bone density test.


If you are interested in learning more about osteoporosis prevention and what steps are best for you, including a customized meal plan, just send me an email to Bonnie@BRGHealth.comto set up a time to talk!


Your Turn to Take Action: What steps will you take to reduce your risk of osteoporosis? Let me know in the comments below!


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