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Much of society
largely misinformed or uninformed about how to build and
maintain healthy bones. Most women know they need calcium and
are aware that they rapidly lose bone
mass after menopause, but that is typically the extent
of knowledge in what is a very important health concern.
statistics demonstrate that one in two
women and one in eight men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related
in their lifetimes, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Unfortunately most people remain unaware that they have this
“silent disease” until their bones are so thin
and weak that they fracture easily.
The hip, spine, and wrist bones are especially
susceptable. The unfortunate back-drop to this reality is the fact that
cases, adopting healthy bone habits earlier in life could have
good news is that it's never too late to make a change for the better
and to improve your bone health circumstances. With
that in mind; these ten
little-known bone health facts; outlining nutrition tips,
lifestyle risks, and
warning signs - can help you take the appropriate steps to
grow old with your bones healthy and intact.
up on your bones...Nutrition -
body stores almost all of its calcium in
the bones, which act as a calcium “bank.” You deposit calcium daily,
body withdraws daily what it needs. Anything that isn’t used is stored
future use. The amount of daily calcium you need varies at different
life (see table below), but remember the body won’t absorb more than
500 mg. at
a time. Wait four to six hours between doses or dairy servings.
Requirements For Every Stage of
Stage of Life Daily Calcium Requirements
1-3 years 500 mg.
4-8 years 800 mg.
9-18 years 1,300 mg.
Pregnancy & lactation 1,000 – 1,200 mg.
Adult women 1,000 mg.
Post-menopause on hormones 1,200 mg.
Post-menopause without hormones 1,500 mg.
cheese is a poor source of
calcium. A one-cup serving of 1 percent fat cottage cheese has only 138
calcium, but a cup of non-fat yogurt has a whopping 450 mg. of calcium!
calcium content in hard cheeses varies, too. An ounce of processed
cheese has 130 mg of calcium while an ounce of hard Parmigiano has 335
almost three times as much. A good hard cheese to eat is Swiss cheese,
mg. of calcium per ounce.
dairy products are much higher in
calcium than whole-milk products. Even low-fat yogurt has less calcium
non-fat yogurt – 415 mg. vs. 450 mg. per cup – while whole milk yogurt
274 mg. A half-cup serving of part-skim ricotta has 337 mg. of calcium
mg. in whole ricotta. That’s because non-fat products often are
dry milk solids. Check labels to see what you’re eating.
Certain foods and beverages interfere with
calcium absorption. The list includes heavily salted foods such as
salami, smoked salmon, prepared soups, salty snacks and other processed
It is recommended that you consume less than 4,000 mg. of sodium a day.
has phosphoric acid that blocks calcium absorption, while caffeine can
deplete calcium. Alcohol in excess is not good, either, because it
sun is good for you and your bones, so
don’t always sit in the shade. A minimum of 400 IU of Vitamin D is
each day for the body to absorb calcium. About 15 minutes of daily
without sunscreen will produce all the Vitamin D you need. Because the
doesn’t shine everyday, make sure your calcium supplement contains
begins in the teen years. Girls
achieve 42 percent of their total body bone mass between the ages of 12
yet 90 percent of girls do not get enough calcium. Beginning at age
children (both boys and girls) should include 1,300 mg. of calcium in
to the Duchess of Windsor’s dictum, you
can be too thin. If your bones don’t carry enough weight, they will
(Paraplegics and other wheelchair-bound individuals also are at risk.)
why you have to make your bones work. Cardiovascular exercise such as
swimming is good for the heart, but less so for your bones. Engage in
weight-bearing exercises such as running, jumping, and lifting as well.
(Consult with your physician first.).
and Other Risks -
8. Many older
women have fractured spines – but
they don’t know it because they don’t feel or hear the bone crack. When
women lose height, suffer back pain, or develop a protruding abdomen or
Dowager’s Hump on their back, chances are that’s a sign of a
fracture of the spine. About 700,000 women suffer vertebral
fractures each year. Brittle teeth also can be an early sign of
women know there is a link between estrogen
and bone health, which is why post-menopausal women have a higher risk
osteoporosis. But in some circumstances, pre-menopausal women may not
enough estrogen. Early menopause, amenorrhea (loss of your period,
a result of too much exercise), estrogen inhibiting birth-control
pharmaceuticals such as Depo-Provera, late puberty, irregular periods,
menstrual disorders put women at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
medications reduce bone mass, such as
glucocorticoids used to control arthritis and asthma, some antiseizure
certain sleeping pills, some hormones used to treat endometriosis, and
cancer drugs. Certain medical conditions also increase the risk of
bones, including an overactive thyroid gland, kidney disease, and lupus.
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