Nutrition Tips to Maintain Bone Density and Improve Bone Health from Virtual Dietitian

Osteoporosis is known as “the bone thief.” This condition weakens the bones in the body, making them more prone to fractures and breaks, which can lead to long-term disability and even life-threatening situations.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about osteoporosis that we often hear from patients. However, it’s important to know that osteoporosis can happen to both men and women. Losing bone density is a natural part of the aging process, and some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to osteoporosis, even if they do everything “right.”

But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to improve your bone health. In fact, building bone mass is something that can start at a young age. The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) offers a great program called Best Bones Forever!® which encourages young girls between the ages of 9 and 18 to eat calcium and Vitamin D-rich diets and exercise to build strong bones during their formative years.

It’s also important to note that being thin, particularly for women, can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. But remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your bones! Our bone-building years occur between the ages of 9 and 18, and we reach our peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 30. While our bodies can’t build bone mass after age 40, we can still maintain our bone health.

So, what can you do to maintain healthy bones? A lot!

  1. Exercise, particularly strength training, is the only way to maintain bone density.
  2. Maintain good posture to promote body and brain health. Proper sitting, walking, and movement can have a significant impact on your well-being. Strengthening your core and elongating your spine are key to reducing back pain and improving bone health.
  3. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone health. To increase your calcium intake, consume foods such as cheese, seeds (poppy, chia, and sesame), yogurt, almonds, and some leafy green vegetables. Women should aim to consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day if under 50, and 1,200 mg per day if over 50 or no longer menstruating. Additionally, at least 15 minutes of sun exposure each day is recommended. Additionally, getting regular sun exposure (with sunscreen) is an excellent way to boost your Vitamin D levels. This vitamin is crucial for stabilizing moods, enhancing energy, and improving memory.
  4. Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  5. Consult with your healthcare professional to identify your risk factors for osteoporosis. You can also take a one-minute risk factor test from the International Osteoporosis Foundation and request a bone health assessment from your doctor.

Osteoporosis isn’t inevitable. Implementing a sustainable nutrition and exercise plan can help us improve bone health and this, in the end, helps us be independent as we age. Take this free online osteoporosis risk assessment.