Building Strong Bones

by in Healthy Tips, November 11, 2012

About 10 million Americans are estimated to have osteoporosis and an additional 34 million are estimated to have low bone-density which places them at risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Although you hit your peak bone-mass early in life, usually around 20 years of age, there are simple changes you can make in your diet in order to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Here are some nutrients to know when it comes to planning a healthy diet to prevent osteoporosis.

It is no surprise that calcium is at the top of the list for foods that prevent osteoporosis but you may be surprised to know many Americans don’t consume enough of this important nutrient.  Though diary is an excellent source of calcium it’s not the only one.  Tofu, dark leafy greens, sardines, canned salmon and calcium fortified foods like orange juice are other options.

Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and can be found in fortified milk, eggs and saltwater fish but the best and most bio-available source of vitamin D is sun exposure.  As you can imagine, our exposure to sun can be variable for many reasons. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels to determine is supplementation is right for you.

Sufficient protein intake is also important for bone health. Most Americans consume plenty of protein so don’t worry about low intake but it is good to know that protein aids in both calcium absorption and rebuilding bone.

We all know a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to our overall health but colorful produce also provides nutrients like potassium which conserves calcium. Some fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium include bananas, avocados, orange juice, potatoes, winter squash and tomatoes.

Making sure you eat a balanced diet is important but it is equally as important to note some foods your should avoid to prevent osteoporosis.

Caffeine is on the list of foods to limit; research shows it can cause calcium to be excreted from the body. For a flavorful beverage try herbal teas, decaffeinated coffee and flavoring water with fruits and vegetables like cucumber or orange slices.

Too much salt in your diet can lead to urine calcium loss. Some sneaky sources of salt include processed meats, such as deli meats and hot dogs, frozen meals, canned soups and vegetables and baked goods. A great way to avoid excessive sodium is to eat real, unprocessed foods which means getting back in the kitchen and cooking up a healthy meal.

Try these simple recipes that include many of the ingredients and nutrients listed above:

Fried Rice with Edamame and Tofu
Grilled Chicken with Roasted Kale
Mediterranean Sardine Salad

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