It’s often said that prevention is the best medicine, and unlike some clichés, this one has evidence backing it up. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, achieving a 10-percent increase in peak bone mass during childhood reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis during adulthood by 50 percent. While there is currently no way to travel back to your adolescence to build strong bones, you can still take measures to prevent osteoporosis from taking control of your life thanks to a process called remodeling. During remodeling, old bones reabsorb into your body and new bones form, and there are ways to support the reformation process. Preventing osteoporosis through diet and lifestyle can help you lead a healthy and active life for as long as possible.
Preventing Osteoporosis Through Diet and Lifestyle
Foods That Prevent Osteoporosis
It’s quite well known that what you eat affects your overall health, including your bone health. Your body requires certain nutrients for successful remodeling. The following foods provide the right ingredients for strong bones (source):
- Dairy Products: If your body can tolerate lactose, adding more dairy to your diet can help prevent osteoporosis. Low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are all healthy options for getting the calcium and vitamin D you need for strong bone formation.
- Fish: Fish pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. Canned sardines with bones provide both calcium and vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel also offer vitamin D.
- Fruits and Vegetables: It should come as no surprise that fruits and vegetables make the list of foods that are useful in preventing osteoporosis. They’re great sources of vitamins and minerals:
- For Magnesium: Spinach, beet greens, okra, tomato products, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens, raisins
- For Potassium: Tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, oranges, orange juice, bananas, plantains, prunes
- For Vitamin C: Red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, papaya, pineapples.
- For Vitamin K: Kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, brussels sprouts
Lifestyle Choices to Avert Osteoporosis
Lifestyle practices can work synergistically with diet to prevent osteoporosis. For starters, maintaining a regular exercise routine can help your bones stay healthy and strong. Daily swims and walks are enjoyable ways to get your body moving, but you should consult with your doctor on what exercises are safe for your body. Building up your muscles through exercise can also help you prevent falls by increasing your mobility.
Aside from exercise, working on your posture and balance can help keep your muscles strong and prevent a fall. Individuals in the early stages of osteoporosis have bones that are prone to breaking even after a gentle fall. According to the study ASBMR Working Group on Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, women over age 80 who had a tailored exercise regimen, walking plan, and (most importantly) balance training reduced their overall risk of falling by about 20 percent. Another study revealed that individuals who practice Tai Chi, a practice that focuses on balance, fall half as much as their peers.
Preventing osteoporosis through diet and lifestyle takes dedication, but fortunately it’s very effective. Try incorporating these tips into your daily routines one at a time. Once the habit feels like second nature, add one or two more healthy habits to your routine. Your bones will thank you for it.
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