May is National Osteoporosis Month – shining a much-needed light on this serious condition. Internationally, one out of three women over 50 will experience a bone fracture, and one out of five men. In the United States, the CDC reports that as of 2010, 16.2% of adults over the age of 65 had osteoporosis (24.8% in women, 5.6% in men) and 48.3% of adults had low bone mass. Osteoporosis is “silent”. Osteoporosis can also be prevented. A bone density scan can help you find out the status of your bone health.
Bones are alive – just like everything else in the body. Bone tissue is made up mostly of collagen and calcium. This combination makes bones strong enough to endure trauma, yet flexible enough to support motion. Bones are constantly being built up and broken down – a process we call bone remodeling. This is why most people can heal after a fracture or a break. I have been on a journey to heal my complex wrist fracture. I am so happy to share some of my habits that I’ve used along the way.
A combination of nutrients and proper lifestyle is key here, as it is in all matters pertaining to health.
Here’s my list for good bones:
- If you are a woman nearing menopause or a middle-aged man, get a bone density scan. This is a great baseline to have as you age. Repeat as needed.
- Exercise. An hour of moderate exercise 3 times a week can increase bone mass even in postmenopausal women. Moderate is the key here, especially if you are already on the osteopenia/osteoporosis continuum. Intense exercise may not be in your best interest. The femur is our largest bone wrapped by our quad muscles, building these muscles has been shown to increase bone strength. This is why I do leg presses 4 times per week.
- Follow the Mediterranean Diet. For bone health, as for all other tissues in the body, it’s important that you consume food your body can break down and absorb. AND lower the inflammatory response.
- Consider supplementation- especially as you age. Calcium is extremely important, but therapeutic doses (around 1000mg/day) have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. This risk is mitigated when Calcium is paired with other supporting nutrients such as vitamin K2, Magnesium, Strontium, Boron and Vitamin D. Do not take calcium without the other bone-building minerals.
- Include collagen-rich food in your diet. Most proteins found in animal products and legumes are a good source. Bone broth and marine (fish) collagen powders are also an option. AND as Wlidatarians, who waste nothing, we can use the bones from our wild game to make bone broth, rich in collagen.
- Eat your leafy greens. Greens are full of vitamin D, Calcium, vitamin K, and boron.
- Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine – both have been associated with reduced bone density in scientific studies.
- If you are considering a prescription agent for bone health, do your research. Discuss the possible side effects and risks with your doctor. Most find a natural approach to be highly effective without the risk of cancer that’s involved with pharmaceutical drugs.
A strong skeleton provides the scaffolding which holds the rest of the body. A strong body is a foundation for a strong you – body, mind, and soul.
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