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30 Quincy Street, Inverness, NS, B0E 1N0
Bone health for women of all ages Bones are living, changing tissue that are constantly being renewed and remodelled; healthy bones do not happen over night. Life long nutrition and lifestyle factors can have a significant impact on the health of our skeleton. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women (and 1 in 12 men) will end up with osteoporosis, but smart nutrition and lifestyle choices can help you to beat those odds. A bone healthy diet and lifestyle Eating and living right for bone health includes reducing factors that cause our bodies to break down bone and/or lose calcium: • Acidity ? When the body is acidic, it tries to balance its Ph in various ways, one of which is to pull calcium, which is an alkalinising mineral, from the bones. An alkalinizing diet is one rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Increasing vegetable and fruit intake has been shown to reduce urinary calcium losses in both children and adults. High levels of dietary potassium, associated with a more alkaline diet, appear to be directly linked to calcium conservation and better bone density. • Caffeine ? increases calcium loss in the urine. Regularly drinking the equivalent of 4 cups or more a day of coffee significantly increases calcium loss. Caffeinated sodas are also a threat to healthy bones, as the high phosphorus content of these drinks can also cause calcium loss. • Table salt (sodium chloride) ? our bodies need a little salt, but too much salt (which also causes calcium loss in the urine) can be bad news for bones. The main offenders for high sodium are frozen foods and fast foods, so eat fresh more often. • Smoking and high sugar intake ? no surprise, what is bad for your health overall is also bad for your bones! Too little vitamin D can cause both weak bones and weak muscles. Supplementation with vitamin D has been found to reduce the risk of falls in elderly women by 46%. This is good news because no one likes to fall, but more importantly it shows that vitamin D can help keep muscles strong as we age so that we are less likely to have fracture-causing falls. Our bodies produce vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin. We can also find vitamin D in some foods such as fortified dairy foods. Vitamin D 1000IU per day, is prescribed frequently in my practice in Vancouver, particularly during our cloudy and grey winters. The elderly, vegans, lactose intolerant individuals and women who cover most/all of their skin while outdoors for cultural or religious reasons are at particular risk of D deficiency and should consider a supplement. Calcium and exercise This combo is an important one-two punch against brittle bones. Weight baring exercise (i.e. running, aerobics, lifting weights, yoga) is important at any age and helps to promote and preserve bone density. Studies have shown that calcium supplementation can improve the effects of physical activity on bone density in young children, prepubertal girls and postmenopausal women. It is likely that this combination benefits the bones of those of us who fall between these groups as well. Bones need a reason to build, as well as the materials to build with. Calcium needs vary with age, studies provide evidence of benefit with supplementation of 500-1000mg per day for adult women. Vitamin K (eat your greens!) Vitamin K is needed for the proper crytalization of bones. Without vitamin K bones do not grow properly. Dark green vegetables are a great source of vitamin K, with one cup of cooked kale providing ample amounts. Vitamin K is also available in various dietary supplements and on it?s own at local health food stores across Canada, for those who do not eat their greens everyday. Trace minerals In one study, a combination of calcium and the trace minerals zinc, copper and manganese were found to have more beneficial effects on the bone density of postmenopausal women than either calcium or trace minerals alone. Supplements that combine calcium, magnesium and trace minerals are also widely available in Canada. Protein Although too much protein may have negative effects on bone density (perhaps because too much makes the body acidic), too little is just as bad. Bone is built around a protein matrix and studies have shown that protein poor diets are associated with poor bone structure. The elderly are particularly at risk for low protein intake and protein supplementation such as whey protein beverages may be a good idea to help protect bone health. Protein needs vary depending on age, weight and activity level but the average person needs about 1g protein per Kg body weight per day. Start early! Peak bone mass in women is attained in puberty so proper bone building nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplementation if necessary, should start at an early age to ensure that you build the best bones possible (but it is never too late to start caring for your bones either!). After puberty, a bone healthy lifestyle should be maintained to keep your skeleton strong and healthy for years to come.
15151 Cabot Trl # ROAD, Inverness, NS, B0E 1H0
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