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Bone Health Basics

by | May 24, 2023 | Uncategorized

Bone diseases are especially common among older Americans for the simple reason that almost everyone loses bone during the aging process. Bone loss in women starts at age 45 and for men, around age 70.
Resembling a building’s sturdy support beams, our bodies’ bones possess myriad key functions; providing the skeletal structure that shapes and supports the body, anchors muscles, and stores calcium and minerals.
People tend to take their bones for granted until something goes wrong. That said, it’s very important for everyone to establish healthy habits to maintain sufficient bone mass and preserve optimum health.
For strong, healthy bones think diet, physical activity, and lifestyle.
A healthy diet chock-full of critical nutrients plays a key role in developing tough, fracture-and break-resistant bones. Fractures and broken bones due to falls or low-impact trauma can often curtail mobility and limit socialization in later life.
Public health dietary guidelines advocate eating high quantities of nutrient-rich fruits, bright- colored and leafy green vegetables and whole grain variations including barley, bulgur, farro, millet and quinoa. Sufficient protein aids bone growth.
A regimen that includes several daily servings of foods rich in vitamin K helps prevent weakening bones. Vitamin K rich foods include spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, prunes, kiwi fruit and avocados. A calcium-rich diet is important to maintain optimal bone health and prevent osteoporosis as is vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium to deposit it into bones. Requisite quantities of calcium and vitamin D intake increase with age.
Vitamin and mineral-rich nutrients derived from plants and animals are a major component of bone tissue and contribute to maintaining bone. Beans and nuts contain high-quality plant-based protein while skinless poultry, fish and lean cuts of meat provide excellent animal-based protein. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are excellent sources of calcium. Alcohol should be avoided.
Absent in foods, vitamin D is primarily produced through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to deposit into bones.
A bone-healthy lifestyle should include weight-bearing and non-weight bearing exercise to promote bone formation and strengthen bones. Strength-training exercise increases muscle mass and may help protect against bone loss in younger and older women.
A weight-bearing exercise is an activity where you carry your body weight and work against gravity. Counter-gravitational activity stimulates bones to get stronger. These exercises include running, hiking, dancing, playing golf, tennis, volleyball or basketball. By contrast, non-weight- bearing activities include swimming, and bicycling, where the bicycle and the water support body weight.
Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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