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Protecting Bone Health
Oh, that silent thief! It sneaks in without a single warning sign, and with stealth like precision steals from your bones. You may not even notice until you’ve lost a little height or developed fragile bones. When it has successfully pilfered from right under your nose, your bones have become porous, a condition called osteoporosis.
The 101 on Porous Bones
Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. In Canada, osteoporosis is most common among women 40 years of age or older. About 10% of Canadians have reported being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Setting Up A Security System
Stop right there, thief! We’re putting in a security system. Depending on how much bone mass you accumulated in your adolescences, osteoporosis may affect you early or perhaps not at all. Since we have not mastered time travel, this means you need to create a web of security that can protect the bone mass you still have. To guard your bones, you can use your forks and your feet. Nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin K, are needed for bone health. Plus, bustin’ a move can help too! Over half of adult women (ages 51-70) do not consume enough calcium (NHANES).
Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk
Every smile, hiccup and toe twitch uses calcium. Muscle contractions, communication through nerves and between cells all need calcium to occur. It’s no wonder calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body; found mostly in your bones and teeth. The bone itself undergoes continuous remodeling. The balance of the breaking down of bone and remodeling changes with age, with your ability to deposit calcium in the bone decreasing to 10 to 20 percent in adulthood. As you age, it just gets worst. Eating foods that contain calcium may help reduce how much calcium your bones have to give up. Dairy foods are obviously a great source. Yet, many find dairy, the most calcium-rich foods, an unwanted part of their diet. So, where else can you get calcium? Think seeds, nuts, leafy greens and beans. A listers are: almonds (½ cup) – 186mg of calcium, dried figs (10) – 150mg of calcium, collard greens (½ cup) – 133mg of calcium, acorn or butternut squash (1 cup) – 88mg of calcium, tofu (3 oz) – 130mg of calcium and beans (1/2 cup) – 80mg of calcium.
Your lovely bone structure is partially thanks to magnesium. Magnesium is involved in the structural development of your bones – it affects the cells that break down and rebuild your bones. Population studies have found those who eat more magnesium tend to have better bone density. Since your body also needs magnesium for over 300 enzyme reactions, it’s easy to see we need to get lots in our diets. You can find magnesium in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains. Supplementation may also increase magnesium intake. Those who may need more magnesium include people with gastrointestinal diseases, such as celiac or Crohn’s, as well as type 2 diabetics and aging adults.
Deceivingly named, vitamin K is a family of compounds with similar structures. Vitamin K1 is in those awesome leafy greens you hear so much about from nutrition experts. Vitamin K2 is made by helpful bacteria that live in your gut. Vitamin K has a few jobs, including being co-enzymes that help the body make proteins that build bones, as well as help you create a blood clot when you slice your finger making dinner. In a 2006 review of studies on vitamin K, researchers noted improvements in bone density and lower risk of fractures in those who supplemented with vitamin K. For some, vitamin K supplements are a concern as it may impact their anti-coagulant medications (blood thinners). A professional health care provider or pharmacist may be able to help you with your personal health needs.
On Foot Patrol
The old expression, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” also applies to your muscles and bones. The more exercise we do, the stronger our muscles and bones are. In 2015, after following over 100 women for 16 years, researchers reported that those who did not exercise lost more bone density than those who did exercise (4 times per week). Anyone want to head out for a walk? Shall we hit the noon-hour yoga class or aqua class tomorrow? Let’s go protect our bones!
Motivational Speaker, Nutrition Expert and author of many healthy eating books, Canadian Allison Tannis can commonly be found being active, creating recipes for foodies, and being @deliciouslygeeky. Professional nutritional consultations available and more at: www.allisontannis.com
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