Our bones are a living and metabolically active tissue and our internal framework; our basic structure. Our bones undergo a constant renewal process throughout our life and in order to achieve a successful, solid, protective structure, or bone health, our diet is the primary factor.
The measuring tool used to quantify bone health is called BMD (Bone Mineral Density). BMD detects osteopenia (minimal loss of bone) and osteoporosis (more advanced bone loss).
The measuring tool used to quantify bone health is called BMD (Bone Mineral Density). BMD detects osteopenia (minimal loss of bone) and osteoporosis (more advanced bone loss). Osteoporosis affects all the bones of the skeletal system yet is more frequently found in the spine, hip and wrist.
Osteoporosis is the leading cause of fractures that can results in disability and mortality. After the age of 50, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.
How can one prevent such injury?
Just like our muscular system, our bones also have nutritional needs. Using a combination of staying active, a properly balanced diet and incorporating calcium-rich foods as well as using a vitamin D supplement offers paramount opportunities to enhance bone and muscle health and reduce the risk of fractures caused by osteoporosis.
Calcium is a fundamental component of bone. Our skeleton houses 99% of the body’s calcium stores. Calcium is the most common mineral found in the body and yet calcium intake throughout our lives is vital for bone health. According to the USDA 2-3 serving of dairy is required daily to promote bone health. Foods rich in calcium can include milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, tofu and kale. If you are lactose intolerant there are supplements that can be found at most all pharmacies. It is important to remember that in order for calcium to be absorbed in our system, vitamin D is required. Vitamin D is essential for bone development and has several key functions. Besides assisting in calcium absorption, it also improves BMD and reduces the risk of falls and fractures. It has a direct effect of muscle tissue and improves strength and function.
Vitamin D can be obtained through exposure to sunlight. However, National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Vitamin D Fact Sheet recommends limiting exposure of the skin to sunlight as there are public health concerns about skin cancer due to sun and UV radiation exposure. Using a vitamin D supplement is recommended. Calcium + vitamin D is a preferred choice versus purchasing the 2 minerals separately.
Does your lifestyle affect your bone health?
Unfortunately, there are lifestyle factors that can negatively affect bone health. Studies have shown that using alcohol daily can increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures in men and women. Smoking also increase your risk. Nicotine diminishes the blood supple to vital tissues including bone and is shown to reduce bone mineral density increasing the chances of unhealthy bones.
Ensuring your BMI is in the normal range can also play a role in bone health. A BMI of 20-25 is generally considered ideal. A BMI under that range can weaken bone and cause fractures.
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT!
Leading an active lifestyle and exercising daily is vital for strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises and aerobics will assist in preventing weak bones, fractures and falls. Studies have shown that people who exercise compared to those who don’t have higher BMD. Thus, less chance of osteoporosis. Please consult with your physician prior to beginning any exercise regimen.
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