Bone Up on the Facts About Bone Loss
As people age, their bones begin to lose calcium and become fragile, a condition called osteoporosis. This condition affects the majority of the world's population over 70 years of age, and up until recently, the brittle bones and stooped stature of the elderly were taken for granted. However, today, prevention of osteoporosis is a real possibility.
Orange Juice Does a Body Good
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. Calcium is necessary to build and maintain bone and vitamin D is needed because the body cannot absorb calcium without it. Cow's milk has traditionally been credited as the best food for strong bones, but there are many people who have an adverse reaction to lactose.
New studies show that your body is able to absorb calcium and vitamin D from orange juice as readily as it does from milk. Another bonus? Orange juice is packed full of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant.
Another source of vitamin D is exposure to a healthy amount of sun; the ultraviolet rays of the sun promote the production of vitamin D. Nutritionally, eating a diet rich in dark leafy greens, beans, and legumes can all help you prevent osteoporosis.
Build Up Bones with Exercises
All the calcium and vitamin D supplements in the world won't make a difference if people aren't also engaging in activities that exert weight on the bones. Moderate weight-bearing exercises, such as walking 30 minutes three times a week, can sufficiently restore calcium to bones.
Consider this: the bone fractures that come with osteoporosis are often due to falling. Aged people often lose their balance because of weak ankles. You can help prevent the falls and the fractures by exercising the right muscles that keep you upright. Here's how:
1. Sit in a chair and hold one leg straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Flex the top of your foot as far back toward the shin as is comfortable and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat this five times.
2. Now rotate your foot clockwise in as wide a circle as possible, slowly and with isometric pressure, five times. Repeat with your foot moving in a counterclockwise direction.
3. Repeat this whole set of exercises with your other foot. Perform these exercises three or four times a week to decrease your chance of a debilitating fall.
What to Avoid
There are many factors that are known or suspected of accelerating the rate of bone loss. These include lack of exercise, smoking, caffeine, and excessive alcohol, sugar, and salt. Soft drinks and sodas are very high in phosphorus, which in excess actually causes calcium loss from your bones.
Various medications can do the same - steroids, estrogen blockers and thyroid medications to name a few - so if you are taking these, be sure your doctor carefully monitors your bone health. Women are much more prone to osteoporosis than men, so they should take precautions to avoid the pitfalls of bone loss.
by Dr.Maoshing Ni