As a child, you’re always told to drink your milk to make your teeth and bones strong. But does that REALLY help your bone health? The answer is YES! It is one of the contributing factors that keeps your bone health at a recommended level. Not only does it give your bones the amount of calcium they need for optimum functioning, it helps your overall health.
Having healthy bones helps support your entire body but it also prevents it from going through the stresses of injuries and bone diseases such as Osteoporosis and Paget’s Disease.
One of the most common diseases of poor bone health is Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal loss of bone mass and disintegration of bone structure in older adults. This poor bone health condition includes having weak, inflamed, brittle bones, making the candidates more susceptible to breaks and fractures of the spine, hip, wrist and other places.
Osteoporosis is a silent attacker, most women who have this do not know they have it until a fracture happens.
The causes and risks of this disease can be genetic; such as if your mother or grandmother had it you are more likely to develop it. For women, a decrease of estrogen due to menopause can cause this. Other factors that put women at risk are smoking, being a Caucasian or Asian woman, having a small, thin frame, having a poor diet that lacks calcium and a lack of exercise, having osteopenia, and taking certain medications.
In women, around the age of 35 is when bone loss begins. It can occur sooner than that depending on how many risk factors apply to them.
Men also can develop osteoporosis. There are about 2 million men over the age of 65 that have it. This poor bone health condition starts later in men and progresses slower.
This disease can be prevented and or the progression of it can be slowed down with simple healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, regular exercise and a well balanced diet.
Here are a few foods that can decrease your chances of developing a disease and increase your bone health:
- Calcium is the foundation of strong bones. Milk is the poster child for this essential mineral. Adults up until the age of 50 need 1,000 milligrams a day. After the age of 51 for women, they need 1,200 milligrams. For men at 71, they need 1,000 milligrams also. A 8-ounce glass of milk contains 300 milligrams of calcium.
- YOGURT & CHEESE
- Some people do not like milk but there is a fix for that! A cup of yogurt has almost the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk. For cheese, you only need a slice of Swiss to compensate. If you are lactose intolerant that is alright; you can use lactose free or reduced products and still get the same benefits!
- LEAFY GREENS
- Dark leafy greens such as bok choy, collards, turnips and kale all contain great amounts of calcium. One cup of chopped turnip greens contains about 200 milligrams.
- FORTIFIED BREAKFAST FOODS
- These foods do not naturally contain calcium but are enhanced with a substantial amount. Things such as orange juice and cereal have from 240 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Check the label to see the exact amount.
- SOY FOODS
- Not only do soy foods such as tofu, soy nuts and milk have calcium but they also contain a plant-based element that new research has shown to help add to the benefit of better bone health. Isoflavones are plentiful in soy products and they strengthen bone density. Isoflavones also have a estrogen-like effect on the body which can be helpful to the women that are postmenopausal.
- Salmon and other fatty fish in general provide a wide spectrum of nutrients that jump start healthy bone health. This includes not only calcium but vitamin D as well. Vitamin D helps calcium absorb easier. Fish is also high in omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to reduce bone loss in older women.
- NUTS AND SEEDS
- Each type of nut or seed provides a different bone booster. Peanuts and almonds contain potassium which helps the loss of calcium in urine. Walnuts and flaxseeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Protein are also present in nuts which help build strong bones.