Osteoporosis is a disease that makes your bones weak. It happens when your bones don’t have enough calcium and other minerals, and it can lead to fractures and pain. Most often it occurs in older people. The good news is that you can take steps to help keep your bones strong when you’re young and when you’re older, too.
Getting enough calcium is the primary way to help prevent osteoporosis. Eating calcium-rich foods is the best way to do this. Foods rich in calcium include:
- * low fat dairy foods (milk, yogurt, and cheese)
- * Broccoli and spinach
- * Almonds
- * Calcium fortified milk alternatives (soy, rice, almond beverages)
- * Calcium fortified orange juice
- * Calcium fortified breakfast cereal
Vitamin D is another important nutrient for your bones in preventing osteoperosis. It helps your body absorb calcium and store it in your bones. Some vitamin D is made by your body after your skin is in the sun. You can also get if from these foods:
- * Egg yolks
- * Salt water fish such as mackerel, salmon and halibut
- * Liver
- * Milk and mil alternative foods fortified with vitamin D
Some people may not be able to get all the vitamin and mineral s they need from their food. If you are concerned about your nutrition, you could consider taking supplements.
Some of your eating and drinking habits may cause you to lose calcium. This may raise your risk of osteoporosis. Your risk may be higher if you:
- * Drink too much caffeine (e.g. more than 3 cups of coffee a day)
- * Have more than 3 servings of alcohol per day
- * Frequently drink carbonated cola soft drinks
- * Eat food high in salt or sugar
- The other key step you can take to build and maintain strong bones is to exercise. This not only strengthens your muscles; it also strengthens your bones. Muscles get bigger and stronger when they are used. Bones get stronger and denser when they have to deal with any type of force – like weight or gravity.
To help increase bone mass and density, focus on weight-bearing exercises and strength training. Weight bearing exercise is when your feet and legs bear your body weight. You can try;
- * Walking
- * Jogging
- * Dancing
- * Climbing stairs
- * Hiking
- * Tia chi
When you do strength training, your muscles work against some type of resistance. This could mean lifting weights or doing strength exercises at the gym. It could mean working out with resistance bands at home. When your muscles work against resistance, they stress your bones. This makes your bones stronger.
Being active in your daily life is also important for your bones. Your best bet is to lead an active life that includes a range of physical activities. This will strengthen both your muscles and bones.
Don’t let age or being inactive rob your bones of calcium. The same healthy habits that help children build strong bones can help keep your bones strong as you get older. By sticking with healthy eating and exercise habits, you can slow down calcium loss and keep your bones healthy for life.