Osteoporosis is a condition which weakens the bones, decreases mobility and hinders a good quality of life. In this article we will provide several ways to prevent this dreaded condition.
- Avoid smoking since this behavior greatly raises the possibility of suffering from loss of bone and fractures.
- Decrease alcohol intake. The formation of bones might be negatively affected if more than two alcoholic beverages are consumed during the day. It is also worth mentioning that the danger of falling down significantly increases when alcohol is consumed excessively.
- Avoid falling down by wearing flat shoes or shoes with low heels with slip-resistant soles added. Be aware of any surfaces which may be slippery and also look for any incorrectly positioned electricity cables or carpets which can become potential causes of falls. Always maintain lights turned on inside the house and its rooms to have a better field of vision. If necessary place handles in places such as the bathroom or where needed so as to make sure that it is possible to get in and out of the shower or bedroom without difficulty.
Being active and maintaining a healthy balanced nutrition can positively impact bones and their formation. Below we will talk a bit about exercising as well as some of the nutrients and vitamins required to have healthy bones and lead a healthy lifestyle.
It is well known that practicing physical activities contributes to keeping our bones in the best condition and keeps the loss of bone at bay. It is never too late to begin working out, however, it is strongly advised to start while still young. The early years are the best time to take advantage of all the benefits exercising brings along with it and keep enjoying them over the course of life.
To be able to strengthen muscles and bones, doctors recommend performing workouts such as body weight and balance workouts since these allow certain parts of the body (the arms, upper and lower spine legs and hips) to resist and support weight. Also, exercises such as jumping rope, climbing stairs, walking, jogging, running, skiing and those that generate impact are great allies to maintaining healthy bones.
Cycling, swimming and working out on certain machines such as the elliptical trainer are excellent for the heart and blood vessels. Tai Chi is also a great balance exercise which can decrease the possibilities of falls and is of great importance as we age.
Being underweight can be as counterproductive for our health as being overweight. This may raise the danger of experiencing broken bones and loss of the same. It is extremely important to keep a healthy body weight since being overweight also jeopardizes our bones and overall health.
Now, let’s talk a little about nutrition and what is needed to maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Protein: Is considered one of the fundamental pillars of bone health. The majority of people manage to get the adequate amount of protein in their daily meals. However, there are still some who are not able to obtain the necessary protein intake. Soy, legumes, dairy, eggs and nuts are great sources of protein for those who prefer to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. When it comes to the elderly, they might have trouble getting the right amount of protein into their nutrition. This is when supplements can come in handy.
- Calcium: The recommended daily amount of calcium to be taken by men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 is 1,000 milligrams. However, this amount of calcium needs to be incremented to 1,200 milligrams once women turn 50 and men 70.
Foods that are good sources of calcium can include the following: Tofu and other soy products, dark leafy greens, canned sardines or salmon, cereals and orange juice fortified with calcium.
It is recommended to opt for calcium supplements if there is difficulty consuming the appropriate amount through regular foods. Nevertheless, it is essential to be careful when consuming calcium, since taking more than what is recommended, can negatively affect the kidneys by forming stones.
It has not been fully confirmed yet, but specialists state that taking more calcium than the recommended amount, mostly from supplements, can raise the possibilities of suffering from heart problems. It is also advised that the combination of calcium supplements and nutrition does not exceed the amount of 2,000 milligrams a day for those over the age of 50.
- Vitamin D: Is an essential nutrient which helps the body to better absorb calcium and also boosts bone health. Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun. However, for people who reside in higher areas, for those who constantly wear sunscreen, for people confined to home or for those who simply do not expose themselves to the sun in order to prevent skin cancer it can become difficult to obtain vitamin D through this way.
The exact amount of vitamin D required by each person is still not well known. Nevertheless, specialists believe that a good way to start is by incorporating 600-800 IU a day for each adult. This can be achieved by consuming foods and supplements containing good amount of vitamin D. Supplements are highly recommended for persons who do not expose themselves to the sun that much.
Taking a maximum of 4,000 international units of vitamin D a day is considered safe. The majority of multivitamins contain 600-800 IU of vitamin D.
In short, exercising, consuming the right foods and obtaining the required nutrients is the best way to prevent bone loss, fractures and osteoporosis.