Osteoporosis is a condition some people call “brittle bones.” As we age, our body loses calcium and this affects our bones. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. Changing your diet can help you preserve your current level of bone mass.
For many years I worked in the health care industry. At the last hospital where I worked, living a healthy lifestyle was strongly encouraged. They had any number of programs over the years to help re-enforce the need to take care of our bodies. I started going to a Women’s Wellness Center that was connected to the hospital. They performed a bone density test once a year as long as I was living in the area. Not only did they give me the results of the test, but also guidelines as to how I could increase the density of the bones in my body.
Most people don’t think much about the bones in their body until they break an arm or a leg. Subconsciously, they consider that it is the framework that holds are body together, but that’s about it. They don’t realize bone is made up of cells that are continuously renewing themselves. That is why the suggestions I was given were important. I could personally do something to strengthen my bones. I had never thought about it until I was in my fifties and got those tests.
The need for calcium
One thing that is needed for strong bone is calcium. Most of us don’t get enough. When we are young, we can manage to stay strong despite not getting enough calcium, but when we get older that lack of calcium can translate into weak bones that break easily. For a senior citizen this can be the difference between independence and assisted living or a nursing home.
Thankfully, it is never too late to do what you can to maintain and even reverse bone loss. You can preserve your bone long into your golden years. Here are some ways that you can affect this change through the foods that you eat.
Eating for healthy bones
The so-called osteoporosis diet is meant to help prevent the disease from ever taking hold of your bones. We need strong bones for balance and strength. Eating well can make all the difference. Here’s how.
- Eat dairy products – Milk and other dairy products contain vitamin D. Vitamin D is instrumental in helping the body utilize calcium in its various capacities. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, drink low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or block cheese.
- Stick with the beans – Beans are an excellent source of protein. They contain fiber for satiety when you eat them but also calcium and vitamin D. Since they are low in fat you can eat as much as you want: black beans, northern beans, navy beans and pinto beans are a few of the popular varieties.
- Spend time in the sun – Calcium just sits there if it doesn’t have Vitamin D to facilitate its use in the body. The best way to get vitamin D is from direct sunlight. So, head outdoors with your sunglasses on and soak up a few rays. Use sunscreen to filter out harmful UV rays while your skin is drinking in the golden light.
- Eat cold water fish – Salmon is good for your heart but did you know it was also good for your bones? It is a good source of calcium.
- Stop smoking – You are at greater risk for osteoporosis if you smoke.
- Drink plenty of water – Drinking too much alcohol or soft drinks increases your sugar intake and can contribute to softer bones.
You can easily strengthen your bones by taking a look at what you eat. If you want your bones to remain strong into your older years, make sure you have plenty of calcium in your diet.