We have all heard that women over a certain age are at an increased risk of Osteoporosis, but that is where our knowledge often ends. Did you know that both men and women typically reach their peak bone mass in their early twenties? How about the fact that while one in four women in Canada over age 50 has Osteoporosis, according to McLeod Medical, one in eight men do as well.
So what can you do to halt the development of osteoporosis and improve your overall bone health? First and foremost of course is nutrition. Bone is a living tissue which constantly renews itself and therefore we need to provide the basic building blocks. For persons over 50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends three servings of milk and alternatives (including yogurt and cheese) per day. If you are lactose intolerant, remember that goats’ milk is lactose free, many of the soy and almond beverages are calcium fortified and canned salmon with bones is not only high in calcium but also Omega fatty acids.
In addition to calcium, bones are also made up of protein which gives bones their strength and flexibility. Again, Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2-3 servings of meat or alternatives per day for adults over 50. These include the obvious (beef, pork and chicken), but also beans, lentils, kale, nuts, tofu and egg whites. Not only does lack of protein lead to weakened bones, but also to weaker muscles and increased falls.
Of course simply feeding your muscles and bones won’t do it, we also have to exercise to keep them strong, prevent falls and slow bone loss. Combining strength training, and no you don’t have to lift your own body weight at the gym – the weight of a soup can will do it, with weight bearing aerobic exercise such as walking or Tai Chi is the perfect bone building combination.
So stay healthy and don’t forget about your bones when considering your healthy body.
Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT
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