Love your bones

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October is a month of skeletons lurking about for Halloween. And it’s not a coincidence that last week was Bone and Joint Action Week! No matter how old you are, it is never too early to take care of your bones and joints.

The goal of Bone and Joint Action Week is to bring attention to arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, and trauma to increase prevention, disease management, and treatments. Did you know that more than half the American population over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal conditions?! If you are a part of this statistic, you can understand how painful, debilitating, or annoying these conditions can be depending on their severity. Follow these tips to keep your bones and joints functioning at their best!

Let’s start with nutrition. Osteoporosis can be prevented by being attentive to your calcium and Vitamin D intake. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in your body is in your teeth and bones so it’s no wonder it’s so important for healthy bone function. You’ve heard all along that drinking milk will give you strong bones and it’s true! Calcium helps with bone growth, maintenance, and function. Other good sources of calcium can be found in other dairy products like low fat yogurt and cheese, as well as dark green vegetables like broccoli and kale. It can also be found in calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, cereal, bread, soy beverages, tofu, and nuts. So make sure you incorporate some of these foods in your diet on a daily basis.

Looking for a snack? A bowl of low-fat Greek yogurt with some granola, berries, and chopped nuts is the perfect option to load you up with some calcium. Don’t forget about the kids! My parents used to make me drink a glass of milk every night with dinner and I do the same for my girls now. It’s especially important for children to get good amounts of calcium as their bodies and bones are still growing.

Vitamin D is equally as important as it’s needed for your body to absorb the calcium. Vitamin D can come from three different sources: food, supplements, and sunlight. Natural sources of Vitamin D include fish and egg yolks. Plenty of foods are fortified with vitamin D as well, including: milk, some yogurts, breakfast cereals, soy beverages, and orange juice.

Getting Vitamin D from sunlight varies from person to person. Your skin makes Vitamin D from the sunlight, but it is dependent on time of day, latitude, season, and skin pigmentation. Regardless of those variables, you should always try to get outside every day, especially on the sunny days.

This brings me right into my next topic: exercise. So, while you’re outside getting your Vitamin D, go for a brisk walk! Regular exercise is so important for optimal bone and joint function. To keep them working, you have to use them! Just 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week will do the trick. It can be anything: yoga, running, swimming, weight lifting, or even dancing! Not only is exercise good for good bone and joint function but it also helps with mental/ emotional wellness and your general well-being.

Follow these simple tips to love your bones and you will be happier and pain-free for years to come!

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Celebrate World Milk Day

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Today, I have chosen to #RaiseaGlass to celebrate #WorldMilkDay!

World Milk Day is a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. It has been observed on June 1 each year since 2001.

I love milk because just one glass can deliver you some awesome nutrition. Here are just a few of the nutrients that make milk amazing and what these nutrients can do for you:

One nutrient that immediately comes to mind and that many of you know about is calcium. Milk is loaded with it; this nutrient is important for your teeth and your bones!

Milk also has phosphorous, which works in tandem with calcium for strong teeth and bones.

Milk is an excellent source of protein, which is absolutely essential for muscle growth, development, and repair.

Milk also has potassium, making it a great choice for keeping yourself hydrated!

Milk is rich in iodine, which is the most important nutrient for assuring that you have a healthy thyroid; it is also helpful in keep you energized!

Speaking of energy, the B vitamins in milk (B5, B2, and B12) are great for maintain great energy levels, keeping you focused and reducing fatigue.

I choose to give my girls milk for a bedtime snack. It keeps them feeling satiated throughout the night, giving them a good night’s sleep.

I also let them have chocolate milk for a snack! In fact, it is probably the healthiest sweet drink kids can have, especially when you make it with dark chocolate syrup (sans the high-fructose corn syrup) like I do!

#Raiseaglass with me today; milk is definitely something to celebrate!

By Kelly Spring, MS, RD, CDN

 

Boost your Bone Health Nutritionally

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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!