According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, some 44 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass. If you have osteoporosis, you’re at a greater risk for fractures, hospitalization, and a host of other complications. Taking steps to protect your bone health is an important part of overall healthy living.
Although more women develop osteoporosis than men, the risk for men appears to be rising, and men have a greater risk of mortality related to fractures than women do. Regardless of your gender, good bone health is critical. You can take the steps below to protect your bones.
Choose a nutritious diet
Two of the most important nutrients for strong bones are calcium and vitamin D. And it’s possible that even if you eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, you may still need supplements. Your care provider at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey can give you advice tailored to your needs regarding supplements.
Dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, and milk, as well as dark green vegetables and sardines are naturally high in calcium. You may also want to drink calcium-fortified juices or milk alternatives, and eat tofu and calcium-fortified cereals.
Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s in the sunlight, but for a great many people, that’s not enough. There are dangers associated with too much sun, as well. Some foods do contain vitamin D, including:
- Fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods, like milk, juice, and cereal
Eating a wide variety of vegetables, getting enough protein, and consuming an appropriate amount of food are a wise approach to good nutrition.
Exercise with your bones in mind
There are two important kinds of exercises that help your bones: weight-bearing and strength training. Weight-bearing exercises are those that force your body to work against gravity and to hold the weight of your body. Strength training exercises are usually associated with building strong muscles, but those muscles are attached to bones which get stronger as the muscles pull against them.
Examples of weight-bearing exercises include, among many others:
- Stair climbing
Strength training exercises may involve lifting weights, using resistance bands, or movements that involve using your own body weight, such as pushups. Just as the name says, strength training makes you stronger by giving your muscles some resistance.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
Limiting alcohol consumption contributes to good bone health. Experts recommend no more than two alcoholic beverages per day. Avoiding smoking yourself, and staying away from secondhand smoke is important, too.
Although researchers aren’t sure exactly why some studies have shown an association between drinking soda and lower bone density. Limiting the amount of soda you drink is a good choice for your overall health.
Some of the things that raise your risk for osteoporosis can’t be avoided, like being female. Women are more prone to having low bone density than men. The same is true of genetics and heredity, because you can’t change your genetic code.
However, by mitigating your risk through the things you can control, such as diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, you can make a positive impact on your bone health.
If you have questions about your risk of developing osteoporosis or would like to learn more about good bone health, book an appointment online or by phone at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey.