Do you smoke, drink soda or skip your workouts?
If so, you could be increasing your osteoporosis risk without even knowing it.
Younger women should be aware that lifestyle choices made now could affect their future bone health.
Here are some tips for building stronger bones.
1. Stop smoking.
Smoking is at the top of every doctor’s “don’t” list because it causes lung cancer, but what most people don't know is that it can also weaken their bones.
Smoking has been linked to lower rates of estrogen, which puts women at risk for lower bone density.
Decreased bone density in smokers can be tied to other lifestyle factors too.
Smokers are often thinner and drink more alcohol, both of which contribute to bone erosion.
But here’s the good news: If you quit smoking today, your bone density could improve in as little as one year.
2. Take calcium with vitamin-D.
A daily dose of calcium is essential for healthy bones.
Calcium constantly flows in and out of bones to the bloodstream.
If you have a calcium deficiency, your system takes what it needs from the bones’ stored supply of the mineral, which can lead to bone erosion.
The best way to increase your body’s calcium absorption is with vitamin-D.
Without it, much of the calcium you ingest could be wasted.
Sunlight is the most natural way to get vitamin-D.
Your body manufactures it when skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
Up to a half hour outside each day may be sufficient for most women, although guidelines vary based on factors such as SPF usage.
If you’re light-skinned and worry about skin cancer, spread out your sun exposure across three 10-minute periods a day.
And avoid sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when it's at the highest intensity.
You can also get vitamin-D through food sources such as, saltwater fish and packaged goods labeled “vitamin-D fortified.”
Fish or krill oil supplements work as well.
Look for vitamin supplements containing cholecalciferol (vitamin-D3), which is considered most effective for raising your D levels.
3. Check your medications.
Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, cholesterol-lowering drugs and immunosuppressants, can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb minerals, including calcium.
Proton-pump inhibitors, which help control acid reflux, can also increase osteoporosis risk.
These medications eliminate stomach acidity, which is needed to absorb the calcium.
Eating calcium-rich foods or taking supplements can reverse these problems.
4. Lighten up on the coffee.
Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day can weaken strong-bones.
That’s because caffeine interferes with calcium absorption, particularly as women age.
If you’re not ready to go cold turkey, try these steps:
Be sure to get at least the daily recommended calcium intake (1,000 mg for women ages 19-50).
Add skim milk to your coffee.
Fat-free milk has more calcium than whole milk.
5. Put down the soda pops.
More damaging to bone health than caffeine is phosphoric acid which is a chemical additive that gives soda's their tangy flavor and keeps it from going flat.
In women, soda pop consumption was linked to lower bone-mineral density in the spine and hips.
Get your fizzy fix by switching to clear soft drinks or mineral water.
But first check the label as phosphoric acid is sometimes added for extra fizz.
6. Cutting down on the alcohol.
If you drink two or more alcoholic beverages a day, you could be putting bones at risk.
Plus, being buzzed increases your risk of falls and bone fractures.
Try eliminating alcohol or at least cutting back.
A glass of red wine at dinner is fine if you’re eating properly and getting the calcium your body needs.
7. Choose strong-bones foods.
Milk and other dairy products aren’t the only calcium-rich foods.
To assimilate calcium into your bones, you need vitamin-K, magnesium and a range of trace minerals.
You’ll find these in leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, collard greens and other vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Mix greens into your soups and stews, or just toss in oil and garlic, then stir-fry.
8. Giddy-up and go-girl.
Exercise itself doesn’t enhance strong-bones, but “it can certainly improve posture and strengthen muscles, which are good secondary benefits.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming, walking or lifting weights, are great for reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Any activity that pulls muscle away from bone and builds muscle mass is important, since women with good muscle structure are less likely to fracture if they fall.
Just about any exercise that works arm and leg muscles, combined with back exercises that strengthen the spine, will help build strong-bones.
Your best bet to ward off osteoporosis?
A daily 30-minute walk outside, where you’ll get exercise and a daily dose of vitamin-D.
Try making it a family event to set a good example for your kids on the importance of bone health.
This is one of our absolute favorite recipes.
Who doesn't love chicken and we can’t get enough broccoli.
If you need more reasons to dig in, one serving provides your bones with more than a third of your daily calcium requirements; more than 20 percent each of daily requirements of magnesium, folic acid, and potassium; plus, the entire day's worth of vitamin-K.
Great taste and all-star nutrition.
This one’s a home run!
Chicken Parmesan with Broccoli Florets
Makes 4 servings
• 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 med. onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 can (28 oz.) no-salted-added diced tomatoes
• 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn, plus 1 whole sprig
• Sea Salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets
• 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
• 2 egg whites
• 1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
• 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
• 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
• 4 large skinless chicken cutlets (6 oz. each), pounded very thin
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1 c. grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Strong-Bones & the Preparation Method;
1. Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Place over medium heat and add the olive oil.
When the oil is hot, add the onion, two-thirds of the garlic, and bay leaf.
Cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes, until the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and sprig of basil.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer on low heat while you prepare the broccoli and chicken.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Sprinkle the remaining garlic over the broccoli, and season with salt and pepper.
Wrap the broccoli florets tightly in aluminum foil.
3. Place the flour on a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil.
In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites.
On another piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil, mix the bread crumbs with the oregano, rosemary, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and season with a pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper.
4. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken cutlets with the salt and pepper.
Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, then dip in the egg whites, shaking off any excess egg, then dredge in the bread crumb mixture.
Coat both sides of each cutlet with nonstick cooking spray and place on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake the chicken and foil packet of broccoli until the cutlets are golden and the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the broccoli and chicken from the oven.
6. Preheat the broiler.
Sprinkle the cutlet with the mozzarella and remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is golden.
(Watch carefully, as they can burn easily!)
Transfer the chicken and broccoli florets to a platter.
Remove the bay leaf from the tomato sauce and ladle the sauce around the chicken.
Sprinkle with the torn basil and serve this recipe for strong-bones immediately.
59 g. Protein,
41 g. Carbohydrates,
16 g. Fat (4 g. Saturated),
111 mg. Cholesterol,
670 mg. Sodium
• Vitamin-C is essential for the health of collagen and other connective tissue, including the connective tissue in bones.
In other words ... strong-bones.
Without enough vitamin-C, bone density loss accelerates.
Some studies have shown that eating lots of foods high in vitamin-C increases bone mineral density and results in fewer fractures.
• Vitamin-K is important for the formation of osteocalcin, a type of protein found only in bone.
People who suffer from fractures tend to have low vitamin-K levels ... and those who have high blood levels of vitamin-K also tend to have high bone density.
Again ... strong-bones.
In studies of people with vitamin-K deficiencies, those who took vitamin-K supplements had less bone loss and fewer fractures.Tweet
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