Today is Osteoporosis Awareness Day. Osteoporosis is a health condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle which then puts us at a higher risk for bone fractures. Losing bone is actually a natural slow progression that comes with aging, but for some people, this happens much faster than for others. Women in particular, are more susceptible after menopause when the process of bone loss really accelerates.
The good news is that the disease is both preventable and treatable. Here are some key lifestyle changes that you can make to help protect your bones and promote overall heath:
1.)Get enough Calcium– Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for women under age 50 and for men under 70, and 1,200 mg for women 51 and older and for men over 70. The best way to ensure you are getting enough calcium is through your diet.
2.) Vitamin D is just as important to help prevent osteoporosis as it helps your body absorb calcium from the food you eat. It is recommended that all adults under the age of 50 get 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D, or 800 to 1,000 IU if you’re over 50. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D through your diet or sunlight, consider taking a supplement. Most daily multivitamins contain at least 400 IU.(always consult your GP before taking supplements).
3.)Exercise is critical for bone health as your bones get stronger when you give them a workout (just like your muscles). Moderate intensity aerobic activities such as brisk walking, cycling or strength training with weights 3or 4 times a week can significantly improve your bone health.
4.) Avoid- Smoking as it is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. Limit your alcohol intake as it can also contribute to bone loss. The NHS recommends not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week. Also limit caffeine such as coffee, tea or soda as caffeine leaches calcium from the bones.
5.) Eat a Well Balanced Diet with a variety of Fruits & Vegetables:This not only helps with Osteoporosis prevention but is also essential for overall health.