What Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

These simple, healthy habits can help make your bones stronger.


| August 1, 2008


Your bones are dynamic structures. When you’re young, well-nourished and well-exercised, you make more bone than you lose. But bone mass peaks in your 20s, and from that point, it’s all downhill. However, the rate of bone loss depends on several factors, and there are things you can start doing right now that will keep your bones stronger as you age.

What you want to avoid is osteoporosis — bones so porous they’re vulnerable to fracture. According to the National Institutes of Health, 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and 34 million more have osteopenia (bone mass below normal, but not bad enough to qualify as osteoporosis). Anyone can develop these conditions, but women past menopause are most at risk, as they’ve run out of bone-preserving estrogen.

It’s much better to prevent osteoporosis than to treat it. Here are key points toward keeping bones strong:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Edible plants contain a wide spectrum of bone-essential nutrients — protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, boron, and vitamins D, K, and C. A varied, plant-based diet provides most of these nutrients. People who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have higher bone density scores and less evidence of bone loss. Your bones do need protein, but too much animal protein makes your body more acidic, thereby increasing calcium loss in the urine.

2. Consume calcium. In addition to dairy, sources of calcium and other bone-building nutrients include dark-green leafy vegetables (kale, collard and mustard greens); calcium-enriched tofu, soy milk, rice milk and orange juice; molasses, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried beans, seaweed and corn tortillas; calcium-rich herbs, which you can make into teas or vinegar extracts, include nettles, dandelion, yellow dock, red clover, sage and oatstraw; and  stinging nettles (wear gloves when you handle the fresh leaves) and dandelion leaves cooked as you would any leafy green. 

Because many women don’t consume enough calcium, supplementation is often recommended. Total daily intake (from food and supplements) for teenagers is 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams. Women 19 to 50 need 1,000 milligrams (1,400 if pregnant or nursing). Women over 50 need 1,200 milligrams if on hormone replacement therapy and 1,500 milligrams if not.

JoAnn_9
2/27/2010 8:17:24 PM

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 6 years ago at age 58 and my MD told me to go to the gym and lift weights! So I did, and I just had a bone density scan in the normal bone density range. I also changed my dietary habits, completely cutting out dairy, meat and poultry and eating wild salmon twice a week. I take calcium and Vit D supplements, getting my Vit D levels checked annually. I know that meats are acidic at the cellular level, and can draw calcium from the bones to maintain a normal acid-base balance. But the fact that countries with the highest dairy and animal protein intakes have the highest rates of osteoporosis was a wake-up call. I eat pretty much a vegan diet plus the fish, and feel better than I did 20 years ago. I'm fit and strong from the exercise and weight lifting. My mother was right about almost everything EXCEPT " drink your milk for strong bones." That is Marketing 101 by the dairy industry.


jeetendra solanki_2
8/18/2008 12:36:15 PM

your these web pages are ery very informative. my mother have this problem of an age of 70+...we are living in india i m totally agree with Mel reslor's comments.her observation regarding asian , africans v/s europeans is absoutely correct. as we have been seeing that in our country India non veg. food is not been in vast practice on the ground of religious matter. while on other hand the poorest pocket of people uses green leafy vegetables and all segments of our country mostly uses green vegetables .yhey do not use too much dairy product and meat etc, so they get benefit of all this factors and consequetively posses lowe rate of osteporisis.


jeetendra solanki_1
8/18/2008 12:34:16 PM

your these web pages are ery very informative. my mother have this problem of an age of 70+...we are living in india i m totally agree with Mel reslor's comments.her observation regarding asian , africans v/s europeans is absoutely correct. as we have been seeing that in our country India non veg. food is not been in vast practice on the ground of religious matter. while on other hand the poorest pocket of people uses green leafy vegetables and all segments of our country mostly uses green vegetables .yhey do not use too much dairy product and meat etc, so they get benefit of all this factors and consequetively posses lowe rate of osteporisis.






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