Top Tips For Better Bones
Although we can’t see them, our bones do a lot for us. Bones are made of living tissue that is constantly undergoing change and it is important to treat them well to keep them strong and healthy and prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease where bones become weak and brittle increasing risk for breaks and fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and about 34 million are at risk for developing the disease.
Although osteoporosis is commonly associated with older individuals, prevention begins at an early age. Eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D are critical to promoting bone health, yet many of us fall short on getting enough of these nutrients. Calcium has many functions but most of the calcium in our body is found in our bones and teeth and is essential for keeping them strong. The best sources of calcium in our diet are dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt. For those who are lactose intolerant, good calcium-rich options include lactose-free milk or calcium fortified soy beverages or juices. In addition to calcium, vitamin D is important because it helps our bodies absorb calcium. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. There are many factors that affect our sun exposure and our bodies’ ability to make vitamin D so in addition to spending some time outside, it is also important to get plenty of vitamin D through food. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna and also fortified dairy products such as milk and some brands of yogurt.
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise, especially weight bearing exercise (such as walking, running, tennis or aerobics) and muscle-strengthening exercises (such as lifting weights) are important for building and maintaining bone mass. Aim for at least 30 minutes of weight bearing exercise most days of the week and include muscle-strengthening exercise 2-3 days per week.
For a delicious bone-building recipe, try this one for Baked Apples with Cinnamon Yogurt Topping.