Osteoporosis can be a terrible disease, but the good news is that it is preventable and here are some steps you can take to decrease your risk.
• Low fat and skim milk, nonfat yogurt, and reduced-fat cheeses are healthy sources of the calcium that you need to build strong bones. Fortified milk products also have vitamin D, which is needed for proper calcium absorption.
• Canned sardines and salmon, eaten with their bones, are also rich in calcium. Mackerel and other oily fish are rich in vitamin D.
• Leafy green vegetables have lots of calcium, plus the potassium and vitamin K you need to block calcium loss from bones. Fill up on broccoli, bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.
• Eat soy products. Substitute soy flour for regular flour in recipes from pancakes to cupcakes. Eat roasted soybean “nuts” instead of peanuts. Look for soy cereal and soy cheeses. If you drink smoothies, use soy milk.
• Reduce your protein intake. High protein intake can raise your excretion of calcium. Limit yourself to the RDA of 50 grams daily for women, 63 grams for men.
• Limit caffeine. Limit your caffeine intake to three cups of coffee a day, since caffeine causes the body to excrete calcium more readily.
Regular weight-bearing exercise will help stop bone loss and may build bone as you age. Improving your posture, balance, and flexibility, helps reduce your risk of falls that can break bones. Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week. Try walking, running, weight lifting, stair climbing, tennis, volleyball etc. Swimming won’t do or water aerobics alone won’t work; your bones and muscles must work against gravity for a bone-building effect.
If you do not know where to start, talk to a personal trainer to get some advice. Visit your local gyms for a tour of their facilities. Look for classes in your community at churches, senior centers, boot camps, etc.
• Quit smoking. Among 80-year-olds, smokers have up to 10% lower bone-mineral density, which means twice the risk of spinal fractures and a 50% increase in risk of hip fracture. As a matter of fact, one in eight hip fractures in women is linked to long-term cigarette use. Also, fractures heal slower in smokers, and are more likely to heal improperly.
• Avoid too much alcohol. Alcohol prevents your body from absorbing calcium properly. Limit yourself to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
• Don’t let depression hang on. Depression causes your body to produce cortisol, a stress-related hormone that saps minerals from bones.
So see a doctor or therapist for depression treatment. Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
For additional information about fitness classes or personal training in the Athens and Rogersville area, call Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530.