Worldwide, an osteoporotic fracture takes place every three seconds. One in three American women over the age of 50 will experience at least one osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. Osteoporosis is far more common in women than in men. You can drastically decrease your likelihood of being diagnosed with osteoporosis through nutritional measures. And these are not recommendations that apply only to middle-aged and older women; even young women should seriously consider applying these bone-health boosting nutrition tips. In fact, research has proven that you can start preventing osteoporosis as a child. Here’s a nutritional protocol to follow to protect your precious bones:
- The most important mineral for building healthy bones is calcium. Consume foods that are high in calcium. The odds are that you grew up in a society that marketed milk as the primary source of calcium. While dairy products contain calcium, the truth is that many leafy greens have even more calcium than milk; try adding kale, collards, bok choy, or chard to your salads or as a dinner side. Befriend sardines; they are loaded with calcium. Curious how to incorporate sardines into your meals; add them to a salad or try making an arugula and sardine pizza. As far as dairy products go, I recommend Greek yogurt as a great calcium source, but beware of the sugar content. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten yourself with a dab of honey; heighten the deliciousness by adding chopped figs and sliced almonds, both are also very high in calcium.
- Get some sunshine! While I recommend sunscreen for most of the day, you should try to get a little bit of exposure without sunscreen so you can absorb some vitamin D. Few foods have vitamin D and 10 minutes in mid-day sun will give you a whopping 10,000 IU of vitamin D…so even in the freezing cold winter, get yourself outside, especially on sunny days! Vitamin D helps your bones to absorb calcium.
- Don’t forget about eating foods that are high in vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to activate a bone-building protein called osteocalcin. Foods that are rich in vitamin K include leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts for example), basil, asparagus, and leeks.
- Limit your alcohol intake. While many people know that alcohol has a negative impact on your liver, chronic alcohol abuse is also detrimental to your bones, having a direct toxic effect. A glass of wine or two with dinner here and there is fine, but drinking every day or regular binge drinking could harm your bones.
Give these nutrition tips a go and your bones will thank you. In my next blog, I will discuss how exercise helps your bones!