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Reducing Bone Loss as We Age

Bones are essential! They not only help you move and support your muscles, but they also give shape and support your body. Bones contain the marrow which contributes to our immune system, and provides red blood cells. Bones are constantly going through a process of building, tearing down, and rebuilding and will be remade multiple times throughout your life. This process is accelerated during childhood and during the teenage years. When you are young, your body adds new bone faster than it breaks down the old bone. After about age 20, if you don’t manage your nutrients and exercise wisely, it is possible to lose bone faster than you make new bone. This leads to osteoporosis which is when your bones are weak and porous and prone to breakage and can cause extreme pain. To have strong bones when you are young, and to prevent bone loss when you are older, you need to get enough calcium, vitamin D, and you need to exercise. Usually in caring for yourself there is no magic bullet, however managing these three simple things can be very effective in preventing osteoporosis.

A recent scientific study stated that a person needs more than just vitamins and exercise to promote healthy bones. According to this study, bones are damaged when a person consumes a diet that causes an increased amount of acid in the body. An acidic environment increases bone breakdown. This has also been considered as a reason why those who drink sodas which contain phosphoric acid have increased incidences of osteoporosis. Colas are the most common culprit. Food items such as proteins and cereal grains are also acid producing; however, fruits and vegetables are acid reducing. To promote bone health, it is recommended to eat moderate amounts of grains and proteins and to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. This can be hard to do, especially during winter months when fresh vegetables are difficult to obtain or are very expensive. Many people may experience abdominal discomfort eating the 5-9 servings which are recommended each day. Fresh vegetables also go bad quickly and take up a lot of space in your refrigerator. Finding a great multi-vitamin can help you get the nutrients you need when your diet alone doesn’t provide enough. In addition to taking a vitamin, consider some of the following things to increase your bone health. Adding some of the following may help:

  • Consume at least three daily servings of low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.
  • Receive an adequate amount of vitamin D through at least 15 minutes of direct sun exposure a day (don’t forget sunscreen for extended sunlight exposure)
  • If you aren’t getting enough sunlight, taking an 800-to 1000-International units supplement every day is suggested.
  • Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Do regular weight training exercise 3 days or more a week, rotating muscle groups for overall fitness.
  • Replace sodas, even diet colas with water.
  • Engage in 20 minutes or more of walking every day.

If we maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise, our bones will provide great support throughout our entire life.

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