Work Against Bone Loss
Women start losing bone density in your their late thirties and have a 50% risk of developing osteoporosis in their lifetimes. One in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, approximately two million American men have osteoporosis, and about 12 million men are in danger of developing osteoporosis! Everyone is at risk! You can minimize your chances of falling victim to this debilitating condition by adding extra bone support to your nutritional and fitness regimens. Simple additions to your dietary regimen is the first place to start.
Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams per day. Women over 50 and men over 70 need 1,200 milligrams every day. Calcium requirements of 1,200 a day may seem like a lot, but adding diverse sources to your diet really adds up! Boost your calcium intake with these additions to your menu:
- Dairy products are the most popular source. An 8-ounce cup of milk -- whether skim, low-fat, whole or lactose-free -- has 300 milligrams of calcium. A single cup of yogurt has 300-400 milligrams.
- Sardines are an excellent source of calcium. Three ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than a cup of milk.
- Dark leafy greens such as bok choy and kale are excellent sources of vitamin D. One cup raw kale has 90 mg of calcium, but turnip greens rule the day with 200 milligrams per cup!
- Half a cup of calcium-enriched tofu contains over 400 milligrams of calcium. Research suggests that plant-based chemicals called isoflavones, which are found in soy food such as tofu, also strengthen bones.
- Salmon and other fatty fish are a great source of vitamin D, which is vital for proper calcium absorption.
- Potassium is believed to neutralize acids that can deplete our bodies' calcium supplies. Sweet potatoes, yogurt and bananas are all excellent sources of potassium.
The best exercises for building bone are weight or load-bearing exercises. Beyond weight-lifting, this includes jogging, hiking, stair-climbing, dancing, and other activities where your muscles work against gravity or your own weight. Aim for thirty minutes of daily weight-bearing exercise; you'll strengthen your bones and reap the additional benefits of improved heart health, muscle strength, coordination, and balance. Does a thirty minute block of time seem like too much? Break it down into three 10-minute segments!
Finally, beware of salty foods ... the more salt you eat, the more calcium gets flushed out of your system. A low-salt diet will help your body keep more of the calcium it needs to strengthen your bones.