Osteoporosis is a condition that nearly one in five American women over 50 and one in twenty American men over 50 live with. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density and mobility which can increase the likelihood of bone breakage in everyday situations.
Although bone loss, especially in women, is partially unavoidable due to hormonal changes, there are a multitude of lifestyle changes that can help prevent this life-altering condition. One of the biggest ways you can prevent osteoporosis is by maintaining a balanced diet including leafy greens, protein, and calcium as these are critical to keeping bones healthy.
If you are unsure about how much calcium is in your regular diet, ask your doctor or utilize food tracking phone apps to monitor your macronutrients. Apps like MyFitnessPal will provide you with information on the nutrients you are getting in your current diet. If you see you are lacking in calcium, modifying your diet will be beneficial as your body absorbs calcium optimally through food. An alternative is to incorporate a calcium supplement into your diet.
Calcium absorption in the body is not effective without Vitamin D, which aids in signaling the need to store calcium. Calcium is excreted rather than stored in its absence. The best source of Vitamin D is generated in the skin when in contact with sunlight. It only takes approximately twenty minutes of SPF-protected sun contact to give your body enough Vitamin D to absorb calcium. Other sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, egg yolks, beef liver, cod liver oil, and Vitamin D enriched milk or orange juice.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess is also linked to bone loss as both impede the natural process in maintaining and growing bone mass. Staying physically active throughout your life also prevents bone loss. Activities such as walking, running, and dancing keep your muscles and bones strong. Bones at maximum density are optimal as you go through the aging process.
Osteoporosis is a serious, life-threatening condition, and although some bone loss naturally occurs as you age, taking a proactive approach now will reduce your likelihood of developing the condition it in the future.
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