Your bones may appear like stagnant body parts, but they are not permanent fixtures. Throughout your life, bone dies back and rejuvenates to keep your body healthy. Your diet is the main contributing factor to healthy bones. One particular disease, called osteoporosis, relies on poor diet throughout your life to decimate bone structure.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the slow breakdown of bone, usually occurring after age 50. Both women and men are susceptible to the disease, although women’s lighter frames often make them more prone to bone loss. Starting in your 30s, bone mass slowly declines unless you fortify your body with healthy foods providing key vitamins. Calcium and Vitamin D work together to form solid bone mass.
Most calcium nutrients are derived from dairy products. Milk, yogurt and cheese are all healthy choices to increase your calcium intake. For lactose-intolerant people, however, calcium intake must be more creative. Select dark green vegetables, including kale and broccoli, to achieve your daily calcium intake. In general, adults need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. Alternative foods for calcium intake include seafood selections, from shrimp to perch.
An osteoporosis diet rich in Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium. Bones cannot use calcium atoms as bone building blocks unless Vitamin D is available for biochemical processes. You typically absorb Vitamin D through sunlight exposure. Spending five to ten minutes in the sun can help your Vitamin D intake, but you must strike a balance with potential skin cancer risk. Too much sunlight causes skin cancer outbreaks in susceptible people. Alternatively, choose milk or orange juice that is marked “fortified with Vitamin D.” By combining milk with Vitamin D, you consume both necessary nutrients to prevent osteoporosis.
Pharmaceutical companies stock shelves several feet high with every vitamin and nutrient possible in pill form. These supplements are viable options when used correctly. Create a diary of your daily eating habits for a week. Note the amount of calcium and Vitamin D you take in each day. If you are below the necessary nutrient amounts, choose a supplement that completes your needs. For example, you eat about 500mg of calcium each day through vegetables and dairy products. Select a calcium supplement that offers 500mg of nutrients in one pill. By taking that one pill each day, you complete your calcium needs and possibly prevent osteoporosis.
For a complete nutritional supplement, try a calcium supplement fortified with Vitamin D. By combining calcium and Vitamin D together in one pill, you effectively supply your body with healthy protection against osteoporosis. Avoid taking a supplement that has too much calcium and Vitamin D. Your body cannot store this extra supplement, forcing you to expel it through normal urination.
Avoiding osteoporosis starts as a child. Encourage healthy eating habits in your children and yourself. Add vegetables and dairy to each meal to keep bones healthy and strong. Exercise helps your bones by adding critical support through muscle mass and less fat reserves. Your body is a complex machine that needs constant care to avoid disease.